Six things insurers should know about the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show

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7 January 2015
Donald Light
The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show is winding down—and if any personal lines insurer wasn’t there, taking names, and setting up meetings, they jolly well should have been. Here’s a short list of insurance-relevant news:
  1. Keynote Speaker, Ford CEO Mark Fields, promised Ford will be first to market with a mass-production autonomous car. Somewhere Henry Ford is smiling and suggesting that the autonomous car come in many colors, all of them black.
  2. Mercedes-Benz showed a driverless concept car, the F 015 Luxury in Motion, which has swivel chairs, lots of display screens, and for the “Minority Report” fans gesture recognition and eye-tracking capability.
  3. Samsung’s Co-CEO B.K. Yoon, another Keynoter, pledged the development of open IoT devices working with its Open Interconnect Consortium. No detailed discussion about interconnectivity with the alternative AllSeen Alliance, or with Apple’s HomeKit.
  4. Augmented reality (aka heads-up displays) are coming to a windshield near you – so says the CEO of automotive supplier Bosch.
  5. Connected home controller hubs are also emerging as a key category, backed by some very back players (Google for Nest, GE for Quirky). The question remains what exactly your light bulb has been wanting to say to your dishwasher, if only it could.
  6. And two non-CES announcements: USAA is offering the Protection 1 range of security and connectivity services to its membership (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150105005901/en/Protection-1-Joins-USAA-Strategic-Alliance-Relationship) ; and GM’s OnStar is linking with Progressive’s UBI program.
But seriously, insurers: autonomous cars (whenever they arrive in force) are going to have a lot fewer accidents (and generate a lot less premium) than today’s human-driven cars. Here’s what I said nearly 3 years ago. Connected homes will have kitchen and electrical fires detected much more quickly, fewer losses from theft, and more advance notice of weather-caused catastrophes. Some story: a lot fewer losses, a lot less premium.

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