The insurtech says it has two years’ worth of data to back its proposition ahead of its planned expansion

Connected home insurtech Neos says its “smart” technology shows a 29% overall improvement in loss ratio and a 35% reduction for escape of water claims

The Aviva-backed business told Insurance Times it now has a critical mass of data to back its proposition, which will see its smart camera and water leak detection devices offered across Aviva’s home product range as early as Q1 next year.

Founder and chief executive Matt Poll told Insurance Times that the business was now able to draw on two years’ worth of raw data to prove what had previously only been hypothetical. 

The loss ratio data was benchmarked against the industry standard, and came out even better than predicted, Poll said. 

”What came through is that our loss ratio at macro level was well over 10% better than leading insurers in the market on a like-for-like basis,” he added.

Matt Poll

Founder and CEO Matt Poll

This was driven not only by a reduction in claims because of the technology itself, but also through self-selection: customers choosing its products tend to be better risks.

”All we had up to this point was good customer feedback. That’s all well and good but that needs to translate into financial benefit, which we’re now able to prove,” Poll said.

US expansion

The chief executive added that the focus now was on international expansion through partnerships, particularly the US market where he sees significant opportunity.

”For us the focus is the US, because of the scale of the opportunity there. Average premiums there are four times as high as the UK, which means there’s a lot more premium to play around with. 

”The [home insurance] model hasn’t been subjected to the same price comparison challenges some of the markets face [in the UK],” he added. 

But Neos will face stiff competition from the likes of startup Hippo, which was recently valued at $1bn and has a similar offering and model. There is also competition elsewhere; Poll sees the market starting to hot up, with the likes of John Lewis recently unveiling its connected home offering for London-based customers.

However, Neos is in the fortunate position of having Aviva as a majority investor. Although the insurtech is run as a separate entity, having access to the Aviva distribution channel obviously puts the business in a strong position to grow in 2020. 

The insurer will offer Neos’ connected technology in its major brands, Aviva Direct and QuotemeHappy, as early as the first quarter of 2020, Poll said.

He added that, in general, Aviva had been very supportive, but ”they’ve been through a big restructure so understandably we’re quite small in the big world of Aviva, that’s taken a bit of time away from us this year”. 

Poll does not believe the company’s close ties with Aviva precludes it from doing business with other UK insurers. ”We’re a separate business from Aviva. We would never turn down an opportunity to work with other UK insurers, and I don’t think Aviva would prevent us from doing so either.” 

Customer engagement

Neos said it will have just over 190,000 direct customers by the end of this year, not including customers through its partners. This figure exceeded its own target of 150,000 customers.

And, because customers can connect to the insurtech’s smart devices through the Neos app, the company sees opportunities to engage more than a traditional insurer would.

It said that customers use its app on average 1.5 times a day, whereas traditional insurers interact with customers on average two to three times a year only - usually only at purchase and renewal.

This growing customer base and engagement also helps Neos to upsell and cross-sell other home-related services, Poll added. 

”Most of [the engagement] is nothing to do with insurance. It’s people checking on their home, or checking the dog is OK,” he pointed out.

“Less than 5% of people claim on their home insurance. We’re trying to give value to the other 95%. The engagement piece has been eye-opening. It’s an opportunity to engage as a brand. Insurers don’t normally have that opportunity.” 

Neos provides a monitoring service for customers, whereby if an alert is raised, a member of the Neos team will inform the customer of a potential problem. 

”The technology is just the enabler. What customers really want is when something goes wrong, someone can actually help them. The real value comes from sending someone out to fix the problem. That’s what we’re most excited about,” Poll said.

Next year, the company is looking to develop services related to the home that it can distribute to customers through the app, to ”help them more holistically” in protecting and maintaining their homes. 

2020 plans

Neos has several irons in the fire for next year. It is running a trial with a US insurer targeting smart devices in the commercial SME market, such as restaurants, shops, and small offices.

There are also plans to run a similar trial with Aviva in the UK. 

Another area where it sees potential for growth is ‘smart doorbells’, where the customer would be able to interact remotely with someone trying to deliver a parcel. It could also help improve home security, as burglars often ring the doorbell before they force entry into a property, he asserted.

Poll sees 2020 as a “pivotal” year for connected property insurance growing into ”something more meaningful”, along the lines of the growth of telematics in motor insurance. “We’re at that point of inflexion,” he said.

How it works

  • Neos provides preventative technology, such as smart cameras, sensors, smart smoke alarms and smart leak detectors, as part of the insurance policy.
  • The Neos all-in-one platform allows customers to access their policy and keep an eye on their home whenever and wherever they like.
  • The app notifies users of unusual activities before they turn into real and costly damages.
  • Customers access the app an average of 1.5 times a day.


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