Becky Downing speaks on the Q3 2018 launch of Buzzvault, designed to empower householders through the creation of their own secure vault of digitised home contents data.

Becky downing

 Please tell our readers a bit about yourself and what inspired you to create buzzvault?

”I am a naturally inquisitive person and love problem solving. My early career as a commercial litigation lawyer satisfied some of these characteristics but I always had a longer term goal to do something that would make people’s lives easier.

That day came sooner than I thought, following the trauma of a burglary and the subsequent pain of a home insurance claim. Because I had auto-renewed each year I was under-insured and only recovered around 50% of what I lost.

I realised that if I’d had a full list of my home contents I could have used this to support my claim. Even better, if my insurer had covered me on the basis of that list, the whole claims process would have been entirely different. This led to the idea of creating buzzvault, the world’s first asset vault built on the blockchain.

We all gather ‘stuff’ that is important to us but we’re not great at keeping track of it and the process of securing home insurance is a real pain for most consumers. I wanted to fix that problem. I could see how we could empower householders through the creation of their own secure vault of digitised home contents data. The fact that this comes from my own experience is really important, we have built this whole proposition around solving customers’ pain points.

We started by developing our own video surveying technology as a means to gather contents data from a customer’s home. The buzzvault app enables householders to fire up a survey of their home using their smartphone or tablet with a link to one of our certified surveyors. This mix of technology and human interaction ensures we have a complete picture of the home contents and what is most important to the customer.

All the home contents data is automatically uploaded to the customer’s secure buzzvault which they can view via the app. They can then simply verify the information and keep the vault updated as they acquire new possessions.

The next step, with the backing of Munich Re’s Digital Partners is buzzvault insurance from Q3 2018, when customers can secure home insurance based on the data held in their buzzvault.”

Why is buzzvault a game changer for home insurance?

”This will be the first hyper tailored home insurance policy based on the customer’s home contents data, covering both buildings and contents.

ABI research suggests over a quarter of households - 7.5 million - have no contents insurance, leaving possessions worth over £266 billion unprotected and at risk. Unlike perhaps any other area of insurance - home insurers do not know exactly what they are insuring. buzzvault insurance tackles this problem head on by using digitised contents data so that we know upfront exactly what the customer wants to insure. This is the customers’ data which they can choose to share with us to secure home insurance with the promise of a fairer premium and a really slick claims service. Access to this unprecedented level of contents data will lower loss costs to our business which translates to lower insurance costs for customers.

Data privacy and security is fundamental to our proposition which is why buzzvault is built on the blockchain. We have also implemented strict rules around how the data is stored so that contents data could never be linked to a customer’s name or address.”

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Underinsurance is a key concern for many insurers, how will buzzvault help alleviate this concern?

”Buzzvault enables householders to create their own fully secure inventory of their home contents, add new items as they are acquired, then choose what they want to cover – it moves right away from the blanket cover offered by traditional policies. This creates a much greater level of transparency and means we, as an insurance provider, will be in a far more informed position from a risk rating perspective, promising premiums that reflect the level of covers our customers want. There will be no doubt over what is or isn’t covered so that there are no nasty surprises when or if the customer needs to make a claim.

The claims process can sometimes be strenuous for customers how does buzzvault make the process less stressful?

Fundamentally we will know exactly what we are insuring, it will therefore be straightforward to validate and process the claim and therefore speedy and painless for the customer. The video survey technology also enables customers to fire up the video tool to support the claim if they need to show damage to their home, for example. This level of insight is unprecedented in home insurance.

What challenges do you foresee in the home insurance market for buzzvault in the years ahead?

The volume of data from the IoT is growing exponentially and we will want to give customers the choice to share their data with us for more personalised services and to support risk mitigation. Insurers are only just beginning to work out how to rate based on data from connected home devices but I believe we will be at an advantage in this process as we have the expertise and infrastructure to ingest this type of data into our systems.

The way people are living is also changing with the rise of generation rent, the gig economy and the movement of skills in and out of the UK. Insurance cover will need to respond to these changing dynamics, allowing customers to secure cover for the possessions they want insured, for as long as they need it.

Will buzzvault enter any further lines of insurance in the future?

The data will enable us to explore additional products and services such as pet insurance and gadget insurance but for now our focus is on the launch of buzzvault insurance in Q3 2018.

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