New apps from Amazon and Walmart in the US could raise customers’ home insurance rates, according to experts.
The apps – Amazon’s is called Amazon Key – come with smart locks, and allow the retail giants to deliver packages inside customers’ houses, even if those customers aren’t home. Amazon Key became available Wednesday for Prime customers in 37 cities. Walmart is testing a similar product in Silicon Valley and Miami.
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But apps like that raise serious liability concerns, according to a Chicago Tribune
“There are a lot of questions,” attorney Kenneth Cantor, owner of Michigan-based Cantor Insurance Group, told the Tribune.
“When you have homeowner’s insurance, it covers you for your property and liability. If you invite someone on your property and they steal something or knock a candle over and the house burns down, would your policy cover it?”
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Insurance policies will eventually catch up with technology, he told the Tribune
– and that could mean a rate increase.
Jim Whittle, assistant general counsel of the American Insurance Association, told the Tribune
that with more people able to enter homes when the owners are absent, insurers will have to solve new liability problems. A pet could escape, for instance – or attack a delivery person. A delivery person could get injured while delivering. The app itself might even be hacked, allowing unauthorized people access to the home.
“In any of those situations, will Amazon be held liable or will the homeowner be at fault?” Michael Macauley, CEO of Quadrant, asked the Tribune.
“Amazon Key is still in the early stages. There are so many questions surrounding liability if a problem were to occur during delivery.”
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