The Zebra Newsroom

Insurance companies enter the home telemaintenance industry

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The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) adopted an amendment to the NAIC Unfair Trade Practices Act back in December, relaxing restrictions on offering rebates and allowing insurance companies to provide non-insurance products and services to policyholders without having to get regulatory approval. 

The rules for this new amendment vary from state to state; before, states prohibited insurers from offering anything of value that isn’t included in the policy, so states may impose a cap on the costs of allowable rebates offered by insurers operating in their regions. 

Following this ruling, Nationwide recently launched a program called Anew that offers tele-maintenance services, giving customers help with their home repairs. Currently only available to Atlanta-area residents, this pilot program will allow homeowners to virtually connect with trained professionals who provide maintenance services, with the intent to focus on tailored services and offering smart-home programs to ultimately reduce claims expenses. 

Nationwide isn’t the first carrier to provide these kinds of services. In 2019, Hippo acquired the home maintenance platform Sheltr, to prevent small issues from becoming bigger repair projects such as checking leaking pipes and clogged vents. Hippo also launched an online version of Sheltr’s home wellness checkup in response to the pandemic and offers free video consultations to Hippo customers. 

Allstate (NYSE:ALL) also announced a partnership with  Home Depot to create an extended protection program to provide customers with expanded benefits and faster repair service. Electronics and home appliance products covered by this protection plan also receive shorter appointment windows, a  “no lemon” policy" which offers up to three repairs for the same problem, and access to advanced troubleshooting. The insurer sells its Protection Plan through other retailers like Target, Walmart and Costco as well. 

As carriers continue to look for opportunities to expand their reach to customers, this new amendment might be an industry move toward consolidating the policyholders’ insurance experience. This new NAIC ruling could trigger an increase in carrier discounts and offers. 

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