USAA Backs Roost, Producer of Smart Battery for Smoke Alarms

The Roost product offers a cost-effective way for consumers to adopt Internet-of-things capabilities to enhance safety and minimize insurance losses.

(Image source: Roost.) 

USAA (San Antonio) reports being among a small group of backing Roost, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based smart-home technology vendor that has just launched of Roost Smart Battery for smoke alarms, designed to increase home safety and mitigate insurance losses. Roost has announced a series A investment round of $5.5 million, led by RPM Ventures and joined by a subsidiary of USAA. Other entities participating in the round were existing investor DCM ventures, Center Electric and Start Garden.

Jon-Michael Kowall, AVP of Innovation for USAA Property & Casualty.

Jon-Michael Kowall, AVP of Innovation for USAA Property & Casualty.

Roost characterizes its Smart Battery as the first in a new class of affordable, easy to install breakthrough products, which offer the P&C insurance industry a path to lower claims as well as to increase customer engagement and satisfaction.

Simple, Convenient and Affordable

“USAA is investing in Roost because we see an opportunity to improve our members’ lives by keeping their homes and families safe,” comments Jon-Michael Kowall, assistant VP of innovation for USAA Property & Casualty. “By reinventing the battery, Roost has created a simple, convenient and affordable way to improve the safety of smoke alarms, by reducing fire and carbon monoxide risks.”

The vendor describes its Roost Smart Battery as a cost effective way for insurers to help customers take a technological leap forward into the “smart home” and improve safety. Roost says the product is simple for consumers to understand and offers a retrofit approach for existing smoke detectors. If a smoke alarm sounds, the Roost Smart Battery alerts homeowners, whether they are at home or away, so they can take immediate action to protect their families and homes. The battery will also remotely alert users that it is running out of power.

Roel Peeters, CEO, Roost.

Roel Peeters, CEO, Roost.

“With our unique retrofit approach, which doesn’t require consumers to spend hundreds of dollars to purchase new devices, the Roost Smart Battery will be a strategic part of the insurance industry’s moves to transform home safety,” comments Roel Peeters, CEO, Roost. “The Roost Smart Battery enables our industry partners to improve loyalty with their customers today and attract new customers tomorrow. We are looking forward to partnering with dedicated insurance companies who share our vision to improve home safety.”

Commitment to IoT Leadership

“USAA is committed to innovating on behalf of our members and working with companies like Roost that have innovative solutions that could help us serve our members,” adds Vic Pascucci, head of Corporate Development for USAA. “Smart homes and the ‘Internet of Things’ offer consumers new ways to enhance their safety, convenience and budgets. USAA is committed to being a leader in this area and working with leaders like Roost to deliver those options to our members.”

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at or (503) 936-2803.

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