Aiming to redefine the concept of home insurance, tech startup Hero Labs has announced Hiro, a new insurance brand intended to lower premiums based on the presence of smart technology. Set to debut their service soon in the U.K., the London-based company says policyholders may be able to save up to 25% on their insurance costs.
More Tech = Bigger Discount
The thinking behind Hiro is that smart technology such as leak detectors, security cameras, and video doorbells can prevent or minimize damages and thereby reduce their claim exposure. Those savings, then, can be passed on to the consumer in the form of lower premiums.
Hero Labs CEO Krystian Zajac is quick to articulate that home insurance was not always an after-the-event service. “Not a lot of people know this, but insurance was originally about working together to stop bad things from happening,” says Zajac. “The first professional fire service was a home insurance company. They would literally come to your house and help you put the fire out.”
Company founder Zajac is also leading the charge on Sonic, a whole-home smart water leak detection product from Hero Labs. Sonic, delayed somewhat due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is expected to begin shipping in 2020 and also features automated water main shutoff. And yes, you can probably expect to garner a Hiro insurance discount for installing it.
Conceptually, Hiro is built around a mostly-digital versus a paper-based platform. They offer an iOS and Android app, whereby potential policyholders can check off various connected home and security technologies they already have and then get an instant estimate on their discount percentage. What’s more, Hiro subscribers will have access to an in-app marketplace where they can purchase discounted connected home technology products to make their homes safer and more secure.
An Uber Approach to Home Insurance
Behind the scenes, the company is working with a number of different insurance underwriters and regulators to bring the service to fruition. But it’s clear Hiro intends to Uber-ize this segment of the insurance industry. By virtue of their app-based service, they say machine learning will be used to settle insurance claims in seconds and bring automation to other typically-glacial insurance tasks.
Hands-on With Hiro
While we are based in the U.S., Hero Labs provided us with early access to the Hiro app. Certainly, the software is a work in progress. Right now, it does not do much more than approximate your discount percentage, based on the number and type of product boxes you tick off. Based on the tech we have in our Digitized House laboratory home, we quite easily got to the 25% discount threshold. This included selecting the August smart door lock, Google Nest doorbell, Google Nest and Ring security cameras, and a SmartThings leak detector.
Ultimately, the app will enable direct subscribing to the Hiro insurance service, instant claims, the smart home product marketplace, and other features. While they are preparing for an official launch, Hiro is keeping things interesting for those on the wait list with some gamification features and friends-and-family referral codes.
Following the U.K. launch, Hiro says they plan to expand the service to the U.S. and elsewhere.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.