Imagine if a smart security system lowered your home’s risk to thefts and break-ins, and that data led your home insurance provider to slashing your premiums. As connected devices in homes become more common, the data they produce offer unique and personalized insights into homeowners’ risks.
To leverage this, Vivint Smart Home is taking steps to become a managing general agency (MGA) and program administrator. Vivint is a leading smart home company serving more than 1.7 million customers across the US and Canada. Earlier this year, it appointed a new chief insurance officer, Ron Davies (pictured) to helm this foray.
Speaking to Insurance Business, Davies said Vivint intends to approach home insurance from a different angle, delivering customized homeowners insurance products for customers. “We’re creating a path to innovative product, pricing, and coverage protection by partnering with members of the insurance industry to implement our ideas,” he said.
Vivint’s unique position as a smart home technology provider can lead to innovative solutions for homeowners. “For every home loss, the consumer generally pays the first dollars of this loss through deductibles. We know that if we can demonstrate lower losses, this can lead to lower insurance premiums,” Davies said. “Our first studies and data indicate we can affect loss costs. That’s why Vivint has entered insurance.”
Vivint’s smart home systems can notify people of a potential loss, allowing them to take steps to prevent or mitigate further damage. “Our smoke detectors shut off HVAC systems to prevent smoke from spreading inside a home, while cameras actively deter crime by signalling to intruders that they are being observed,” Davies illustrated. He stressed, however, that Vivint would maintain a focus on data privacy.
“We are just starting to think through how to leverage these existing products along with household data, to enable us, with consumer approval, to lower the risk and costs to the homeowner,” he said.
Davies also shared that Vivint Smart Insurance is developing a concept for “Homematics” – telematics, or usage-based insurance, for the home. Without giving too many details, the chief insurance officer said that they can identify some risk changes through Vivint’s occupancy model.
Why an MGA?
For Davies, Vivint and the insurance industry already have a lot in common, making Vivint’s expansion as an MGA a good fit. “We both have substantial amounts of data, and we have customers in common,” he said.
“I believe Vivint is in a unique position to take insurance to the next level for a few reasons, which center on our existing customer network. While other companies put devices in a home so they can leverage the data and turn their customers into a product, we take existing data and put it to work for our customers.”
Vivint’s first step into its insurance journey involved rethinking protection, and that began with conversations with their customers. Finding strong interest in home insurance with their customer base, Vivint sought to leverage their loss costs data into improving pricing, underwriting or coverage design, which it now seeks to incorporate into its MGA offerings.
Davies brings more than two decades of insurance experience to Vivint. Most recently, he was the president, CEO, and director of Safe Auto Insurance Group. During his nine-year term, he led the business from a founder-led company to a tech-driven industry player. Safe Auto was acquired by Allstate in 2021.
Prior to SafeAuto, Davies held various executive and leadership positions with leading insurance firms, including Allstate and Progressive Insurance, as well as smaller specialized companies.
“It was obvious to me that the company has serious potential to redefine how we think about home protection in the insurance and property security industry,” Davies said of his decision to join Vivint. “It’s truly exciting to explore more strategic industry partnerships that can lead to new approaches and market strategies.”