Insurance Companies and the Connected Home

By Bruno Napoli
Published on: December 16, 2017

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If you’re following my blogs, you’ll appreciate that I’m questioning myself about the future of our industry. I’m not trying to predict what’s going to happen, but I explore all possible scenarios. And today’s scenario is about insurance companies and connected houses.

There are a lot of cases where the insurance companies set mandatory policy to have a maintenance contract to cover your home. It depends a lot on the local rules and legislation of your state or country. In France for example, if your gas water heater does not have a yearly maintenance by a certified pro, you’re not covered if it explodes. If your chimney pipe is not swept once a year by an authorized chimney sweep, your insurance will not cover you in the event of a fire. Insurance companies work that way: They are giving you an insurance on a “calculated risk” and share some of those responsibilities with certified professionals. In fact, every time where life can be in danger or lots of reimbursement might be involved, your insurance will ask for a certified professional to install it and/or a maintenance contract. You just can’t build your house as you want and expect any insurance company to cover your workmanship.

This said, let’s make a parallel with our audio/video and home automation industry. Did you realize that we do not install just entertainment anymore? No TV and/or distributed AV can cause any number of damages to someone or to the house. But now that our industry is also handling lighting, shading, HVAC, security, door locks – we literally turn houses alive! And more than ever, any workmanship can put people or the house in danger. Today’s houses can literally turn against the people that are living there.

What if someone hacks your Wi-Fi because the firmware of the access point is not up to date. They will be able to take control of the house, turn off the security system, open the doors while you are sleeping. Or they can also lock you in a totally dark house with the air conditioner to the maximum until you freeze. This looks like a bad scenario for a cheap movie, but it’s totally plausible and it might just happen!

I’m quite sure that in a few years, and probably sooner than we think, insurance companies will ask all home owners to have a maintenance contract for a pro to come once or twice a year to update all firmware, check if all devices are still secure enough, change Wi-Fi passwords and give you the latest advice in order to get your house as secure as possible. As you can see, I believe our industry has a great future by being a full service provider.

Bruno Napoli

Bruno Napoli

Bruno is a French self-made serial entrepreneur and blogger based in Paris and a 25 year veteran in the residential AV industry. Along with his brother Julien, he runs Krika, a company providing residential network system-wide management solutions.

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