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How Travelers is reinventing homeowners' insurance with data

  • March 06 2018, 5:49am EST

Travelers is ramping up investments in both self-service digital platforms and the smart home, with the goals of gathering more customer data, expediting payments and educating policyholders on best home-maintenance practices.

The company is currently piloting a do-it-yourself home inspection tool for homeowners in select Northeastern states. Customers are able to snap and upload photos to Travelers mobile app at the time of a new policy purchase, instead of waiting for an inspector to complete an on-site physical assessment.

In September, the insurer also announced the launch of two new website tools: Home Central and Open House. Home Central connects homeowners with tips about buying, selling and renovating a home, while OpenHouse, created in partnership with data aggregator BuildFax, allows consumers to search for addresses and receive a snapshot of the work that has been done to the property. Travelers then informs potential buyers when a roof was last replaced; or the dates of any other major upgrades completed.

The company’s latest home-insurance offering, Quantum Home 2.0, is aimed at helping agents and individual consumers bind coverages using a new quoting tool that simplifies language on policy documents.

“The biggest difference between 1.0 and 2.0 is it’s not one size fits all,” said Eric Nordquist, SVP of personal insurance product at Travelers. “We offer strong segmentation to classify risk, but wanted to have a much more flexible product out there. Every customer is different, so we opted for value-added packages.”

Eric Nordquist, Travelers
Eric Nordquist, Travelers Photo credit: Travelers

Homeowners can now create personalized à la carte style coverages through a compilation of services, including decreasing deductibles and loss forgiveness; appliance breakdown protection; full coverage on water damage; and discounts for owning smart-home devices guarding against fire, burglary and water leaks. Travelers is in ongoing discussions with multiple vendors to distribute smart devices to policyholders in exchange for sensor data, Nordquist says.

“The more safety devices you have in the home, the better potential there is for keeping it safe,” he added. “Debate, in terms of the magnitude of their impact, will continue as the market matures.”

The carrier is already pulling third-party data on residential properties in order to prefill online applications for Quantum Home 2.0 applicants. The goal is to improve quoting speed by reducing the amount of questions asked to clients and accurately determine replacement costs of a home. Variables such as total square footage, number of bathrooms and age of roof are factored in underwriting, Nordquist says. Gathered data is collected via a third-party vendor source Travelers denied to identify.

Thanks to its new quoting and data tools, first launched to customers in November, Travelers is collecting five times more data today than it was with its initial roll out of the product, it says. Screen time for users is also down 30%. Quantum Home 2.0 is currently available in Colorado, Oregon and Wisconsin. The company expects to announce additional states the platform will launch in by mid-2018.

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