Google eyes partnerships with insurers in France

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Google France office

Google is eyeing to enter the insurance market through partnerships with insurance companies.

The technology giant is looking to forge partnerships with insurance providers in France and some of its divisions including Nest, which manufactures smart thermostats, smoke detectors, and other security systems, said Google France Managing Director Nick Leeder.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the recent reinsurance industry’s annual meeting in Monte Carlo, Leeder said, “With some of the things we have done around Nest, we have been working with insurers in France like AXA and Allianz to develop bundles of products which blend technology and hardware with insurance.”

Leeder stressed that the company is not entering the insurance market directly.

“We’re clearer about the role that we can play and what we can add, and we are looking for partners.”

Insurance companies may be breathing a sigh of relief now that Google has confirmed that it is just seeking insurance partners.

According to a recent report from consultants Capgemini, over 40 percent of insurance companies deem Google as a potential threat owing to its strong brand and ability to manage customer data.

Google is now directing more of its efforts on healthcare.

Earlier this year, it shut down Google Compare, its price comparison website for motor insurance.

According to a report by Business Insider UK, teaming up with insurers to offer Nest products will help diversify the sales channels of Google.

Nest has struggled this year, which could have prompted Google to look for other means to sell its products, it said.

Google’s parent company Alphabet acquired Nest in January 2014.

In August, Nest teamed up with Southern California Edison to offer power bills discounts on Nest users, creating the incentive for existing customers to purchase a Nest product.

Through this alliance, the power company is able to provide less power to Nest-equipped houses, helping ease power shortages in this region.

Smart home products can help not only power companies but also insurance providers, Business Insider UK added.

Consumer IoT products help insurers make more informed risk determinations, create better payout models and ultimately expand clientele base.

Connected home products also help prevent disasters that need insurance payouts through their monitoring features, it added.

According to a study conducted by Accenture last year, an increasing number of insurers are integrating smart home products into their insurance package offerings.

The survey found that 17 percent of insurance companies have already introduced or are about to unveil smart home technology products and services. This figure represented an increase of 5 percent in 2015.

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