Notion is really a company which makes sensors. The sensors are round, sleek, and unobtrusively sized, fitting easily in the users hand of the hand. They're what Ryan Margoles, co-founder from the Denver-based firm, calls “multi-capable” – created to do several tasks at the same time, like measure the temperature, or detect water leaks. They pick up movement through doorways, when a window is open or throughout the presence of smoke.
The sensors are also what is known as “telematics” devices, and a handful of companies are using them in order to make home insurance cheaper.
In June, Notion announced it would be partnering with American Modern Insurance Group to own insurance company's Alabama, Colorado, and Ohio customers discounts for Notion sensors. A few months later, in August, Notion announced a second partnership, this time with Travelers Insurance: select Travelers customers in California would also be getting discounts for Notion sensors. The reason for both partnerships was exactly the same: to inspire homeowners to install Notion sensors within their homes and use these to monitor, discover, and thus prevent a number of common “perils” from happening: fire, theft and water leaks.
Notion told LowestRates.ca that the company doesn't have a intends to expand in Canada at this time, however these collaborations between Notion and 2 veteran U.S. insurers signal a transfer of the home insurance industry in particular. While auto insurance companies – especially American ones – have long embraced telematics to monitor how their customers drive, using the resulting data to regulate the way they determine those customers' level of “risk,” home insurers still assess risk the old-fashioned way: by taking a look at a home and estimating how good it might hold up when it comes to a poor situation.
Technologies like Notion's, which collect data how homeowners respond to emergencies, offer home insurers an opportunity to update the way they assess risk in a way that reflects the responsibility of homeowners. Just like auto insurance, this type of move may help make premiums cheaper. But, it could also impact the way people live in and communicate with their homes.
A consider the technology
Here's how it works: when American Modern and Travelers customers order Notion sensors, the company ships them in packs of three or five. The sensors have an adhesive backing, that makes it simple to stick them onto different parts of your home, and also the company's app will give assistance with where to best install them. “We state that our average install time is less than Fifteen minutes for the whole house,” Margoles tells me. “Which is pretty cool.”
From that point forward, it is a few paying attention to your sensors. As noted, the sensors are aimed at alerting customers about water leaks, potential break-ins and smoke and temperature changes. When alerts do go off, it's up to the customer to react. And it is those reactions, along with the factors that made an emergency happen in the initial place, that get catalogued by Notion – data that Margoles says will help insurers become more fair with the way they assess risk.
“Say we have 50,000 homes' worth of data, and we look at certain trends around geographics,” he says. “Are there higher risks in certain areas that have this type of weather? Exist certain risks for people who leave at times of day, and who are not home at times of day? Are there different things we can do to assess risk differently there?”
For now, neither American Modern nor Travelers uses this data to find out just how much they'll charge their clients. In September, another insurance provider, Hippo Insurance Services, announced that they would give customers reduced prices for Notion sensors and cheaper premiums to any customer who actually installs the sensors within their homes. But for the moment, the insurance coverage discounts are fixed rather than based on how effectively customers respond to the sensors' alerts.
Margoles thinks that individualized discounts – much like the ones offered by auto insurers via pay-as-you-go programs – take presctiption the horizon, though. “On an individual level, you will find certainly possibilities to score risk,” he states. “I've mentioned that a few times, and that i really harken to the car sensor, where if you're a safe driver, you can aquire a discount on your auto insurance.
“There's certainly similar applications around the homeowner, renters side.”
The precise information on how such a system works weren't determined yet. But Margoles has ideas about what factors insurers usually takes into consideration.
“Are people leaving their garage doors open when they go to work? When there is a water leak, could they be coming and fixing it quickly? Do they come home, open the leading door, and turn the lights on? Do they resolve the issue? How can they kind of respond to certain things?”
Such “behavioural” trends might be more relevant to how risky it is to insure a house than the structure of the home itself, Margoles says. Replacement worth of the structure of a current home is one of the main ways insurers price premiums for existing property insurance.
Telematics includes privacy concerns
But agreeing to have telematics in your home does mean agreeing to quitting some of your privacy. For a long time, critics of car telematic technologies have grappled using the question of whether cheaper rates are worth it.
Those concerns are the technology's major hurdle. For example, 75% of Canadians told work from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada inside a 2021 survey that they had concerns about the use of telematics.
The prevailing narrative for supporters of telematics is among “taking control” – monitoring technologies will give customers the chance to be rewarded for “good” behaviour. It may feel ironic, though, that technology that makes you are feeling obligated to meet certain criteria for navigating your house – keeping the doors closed and your lights off; fixing problems immediately, even if it's not necessarily convenient – is referred to as taking more control of your circumstances. How “in control” would you feel when you ensure your behaviour consistently fell in line to ensure that you to definitely be eligible for a cheaper insurance?
Of course, the solution largely comes down to the criteria telematics demands of consumers . Are they difficult or easy to meet? Would there be a blanket set of rules for those homes, or would there be different rules for different types of homes, and different types of circumstances? And lastly, is meeting all the criteria – anything they turn out to be – in fact worth accessing cheaper premiums? Until home insurers go ahead and take next step and actually let their customers' behaviour affect rates, it's hard to say – as well as then, any answer is going to be highly subjective.
With property insurance rates getting higher – and for many, less affordable – each year, telematics a minimum of provides the opportunity to decrease your rates. “Insurance itself hasn't really had much disruption or much alternation in several years,” says Margoles.
“But I think Notion has that potential because there's an additional way to look at risk. And there is a different way to make customers happy and excited and educate them.”