THE INSURANCE AND THE IoT REPORT: How insurers are using connected devices to cut costs and more accurately price policies


This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Insurance companies have long based their pricing models and strategies on assumptions about the demographics of their customers. Auto insurers, for example, have traditionally charged higher premiums for parents of teenage drivers based on the assumption that members of this demographic are more likely to get into an accident.

But those assumptions are inherently flawed, since they often aren’t based on the actual behaviors and characteristics of individual customers. As new IoT technologies increasingly move into the mainstream, insurers are able to collect and analyze data to more accurately price premiums, helping them to protect the assets they insure and enabling more efficient assessment of damages to conserve resources.

A new report from BI Intelligence explains how companies in the auto, health, and home insurance markets are using the data produced by IoT solutions to augment their existing policy pricing models and grow their customer bases. In addition, it examines areas where IoT devices have the potential to open up new insurance segments.

 Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • The world’s largest auto insurers now offer usage-based policies, which price premiums based on vehicle usage data collected directly from the car.
  • Large home and commercial property insurers are using drones to inspect damaged properties, which can improve workflow efficiency and reduce their reliance on human labor.
  • Health and life insurance firms are offering customers fitness trackers to encourage healthy behavior, and discounts for meeting certain goals.
  • Home insurers are offering discounts on smart home devices to current customers, and in some cases, free devices to entice new customers.

In full, the report:

  • Forecasts the number of Americans who will have tried usage-based auto insurance by 2021.
  • Explains why narrowly tailored wearables could be what’s next for the health insurance industry.
  • Analyzes the market for potential future insurance products on IoT devices.
  • Discusses and analyzes the barriers to consumers opting in to policies that collect their data.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the IoT, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of insurance and the IoT.

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Tesla’s new electric semi truck could work wonders for cutting greenhouse gas emissions

Tesla unveiled its electric semi truck on Thursday night to much fanfare. The company claims the truck can go 500 miles on a single electric charge, and utilize a “Megacharger” to charge up to 400 miles in only 30 minutes. These are some pretty impressive statistics, and if Tesla is able to penetrate the market, its semi has the potential to take a lot of gas guzzlers off the road.

As we can see in this chart from Statista, heavy duty trucks, a category that includes semis, are the second biggest contributor to transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions in the US. Telsa CEO Elon Musk said production will begin in 2019, and that reservations can be made for $5,000 in advance. 


SEE ALSO: A breakdown of iPhone manufacturing costs over time

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THE CONVERSATIONAL COMMERCE REPORT: Chatbots’ impact on the payments ecosystem and how merchants can capitalize on them

2 chat app users

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

To keep pace with the ongoing shift toward e- and m-commerce, retailers are turning to chat apps, where smartphone users spend considerable time each day.

One way they’ve been accessing consumers on these platforms is through chatbots, or software programs that use business-to-consumer (B2C) text-based messaging as an interface through which customers can communicate with merchants in a question-and-answer format. 

For merchants, these offerings are valuable because sales increase as customers communicate with and shop from their brand on more channels. But there’s considerable friction — in chat apps, payments offerings are limited, which means users who might be browsing in a messaging app will still be redirected to another app or the mobile web to complete a purchase. 

This is creating an opportunity for payments processors and card networks, which are beginning to partner with merchants to capture potential volume from chat apps. And as the hype increases, other payments firms, like remittance providers and banks are also entering the game, in the hopes of increasing user engagement or attracting new types of clients.

There’s a long road ahead: We’re just at the beginning of what’s likely to be a long adoption cycle, with payments firms only starting to dip their toes into the space. But improvements in the ecosystem, combined with rising consumer appetite for these services and increasing trust, will eventually lead to moderate gains in usage that open up a massive volume opportunity for Western firms.

BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a detailed report on chatbots’ role in the payments ecosystem.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Chat apps are the next frontier for digital commerce, but without payments functionality, the opportunity is extremely limited. Customers can — and do — ask for support, take advantage of deals, and browse many stores within chat apps. But when it comes time to pay, users have to switch to another app or the mobile web — a turnoff that could hinder adoption and lower conversion rates.
  • Most payments firms are teaming up with retailers, often those they already count as clients, to enable customers to make payments using their mobile wallets or processing features within chat apps. That’s allowing retailers to get to the space faster while opening a revenue opportunity for payments players. Others are taking less direct approaches, working to increase consumer engagement in a way that promotes more spending offline.
  • We’re at the beginning of an adoption curve, so digital payments providers shouldn’t expect massive success quickly, but in the long run, it’s likely to be a large market. As firms work to grow consumer awareness and improve the experience, the technology will eventually become mainstream, which makes getting in early and becoming established worthwhile. 

In full, the report:

  • Explains why the chat app is the next frontier for commerce, and why payments functionality is a linchpin of that success.
  • Details different types of chat app payments and their potential use cases.
  • Evaluates the hurdles that could prevent consumers from using chatbot payments.
  • Suggests ways firms can overcome these hurdles and begin seeing adoption.
  • Sizes the potential long-run market for chatbot payments in the West.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND more than 250 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase and download the report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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THE SELF-INSTALLED SMART HOME REPORT: Why current smart home device owners are appealing to tech companies

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Not that long ago, many home-appliance and consumer-electronics makers were gearing up for what they thought would soon be a rapidly growing market for smart home devices.

The instant popularity of the Nest thermostat, introduced in 2011, seemed to confirm their hopes. But those expectations were dashed in the coming years as the market for connected home devices later stagnated. 

Even with these challenges, many of the biggest consumer technology companies are now moving into the smart home market. For example, Apple, which recently released its self-installed smart home ecosystem, called the Apple Home, traditionally doesn’t move into a market until it’s very mature and only when it can release a perfected product. Further, Google this fall launched the Google Home and its companion ecosystem, hoping to jump into the voice-activated smart home speaker market, which Amazon currently dominates with its Echo product line. 

In a new report, BI Intelligence examines the demographics of the average smart home device owner and discuss why current smart home device owners are appealing to tech companies. The report also examines the plans of various tech giants in the smart home market and discuss their monetization strategies, and makes suggestions for how these companies can position themselves to make their products and devices more appealing to the mass market.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Tech companies primarily enter the market to enhance a core revenue stream or service, while device makers desire to collect data to improve their products and prevent costly recalls.
  • We forecast there will be $4.8 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2016 and 2021.
  • These companies are also seeking to create an early-mover advantage for themselves, where they gain an advantage by this head start on adoption.
  • Major barriers to mass market adoption that still must overcome include technological fragmentation and persistently high device prices.

In full, the report:

  • Details the market strategy of prominent tech companies and device makers, and analyzes why which ones are best poised to succeed once adoption ticks up.
  • Offers insight into current ownership through an exclusive survey from BI Intelligence and analyzes what demographics will drive adoption moving forward.
  • Explains in detail which companies are poised to succeed in the market in the coming years as adoption increases and mass market consumers begin to purchase smart home devices.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the IoT, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of smart homes.

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Former GM CEO calls Tesla a ‘losing enterprise,’ and says it’s ‘going out of business’ (TSLA)

tesla trucks semi

  • Former General Motors executive Bob Lutz panned Tesla less than 24 hours after the electric-car company revealed its first big rig truck and a new roadster. 
  • Lutz called Tesla a “losing enterprise” and said it’s “going out of business.”
  • Tesla has had problems of late, both on its assembly lines and in the front office.

Bob Lutz, the former chief executive of General Motors, scoffed at Tesla on Friday, calling the electric-car company a “losing enterprise” that’s “going out of business.”

In a terse interview on CNBC, Lutz panned the electric-car maker less than 24 hours after CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Semi — its first entry into the electric heavy-duty trucking market — and the new Tesla Roadster.

Both vehicles are expected to be equipped with Tesla’s most powerful batteries to date. The Semi boasts 500 miles of range on one charge and can recharge up to 400 miles in 30 minutes, according to Tesla. Musk on Thursday night said the new Tesla Roadster would have a 200 kWh battery with a 620-mile range.

Lutz was unimpressed: “There’s no secret sauce in Tesla,” Lutz told CNBC. “They use the same lithium-ion batteries as everyone else.”

The former GM chief is a longtime Tesla critic who has, like many other Tesla skeptics, questioned whether the company can stop its cash burn, stabilize its manufacturing business, and turn a profit.

And, lately, the bad news just keeps coming.

It’s no secret Tesla is in production hell with the Model 3, its first mass-market offering. Tesla has also struggled to get its Gigafactory running at full speed. In the front office, the company is dealing with multiple workplace controversies that have cast an unflattering light on its corporate culture.

Tesla stock reacted positively to the slew of new shiny things unveiled Thursday night but shaved off those gains slightly by market close on Friday.

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The Trump administration’s extreme vetting plan is being blasted as a ‘digital Muslim ban’

Trump Muslim ban

  • Tech experts and rights groups are criticizing a plan from the Trump administration to develop software that would automate the vetting process immigrants undergo.
  • In recent months, the Department of Homeland Security has sought contractors to build the software, but it’s unclear what the status of those plans are.
  • Such software would be “inaccurate and biased” and would likely target innocent people, the experts said.

The Trump administration in recent months has solicited technology firms to develop software that would use artificial intelligence to examine prospective immigrants for their risk of committing terrorist acts — a system critics say will likely be riddled with inaccuracies and result in the exclusion or deportation of innocent people who pose no threat.

In two open letters published Thursday, dozens of computer scientists and tech experts, civil liberties groups, and immigration advocates denounced the plan, known as the “Extreme Vetting Initiative,” and urged acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke to drop it.

“Simply put, no computational methods can provide reliable or objective assessments of the traits that” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “seeks to measure,” according to a letter signed by 54 tech experts from prominent universities and tech firms. “In all likelihood, the proposed system would be inaccurate and biased. We urge you to reconsider this program.”

The status of the Trump administration’s plan is unclear, but internal documents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) first published by The Intercept show that ICE solicited contractors as recently as July and August to build a system that could automate the government’s vetting procedures for immigrants and visa applicants.

The plan stems from President Donald Trump’s pledges to use “extreme vetting” of immigrants to weed out potential terrorists, a commitment he repeated after an October attack in New York City killed eight people.

“I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!” Trump tweeted after the attack.

According to the DHS documents, the contractors hired for the initiative would be expected to “exploit” publicly available information, including applicants’ social media profiles, to extract information regarding criminal activity and national security threats.

The software would have to predict both “an applicant’s probability of becoming a positively contributing member of society,” and “whether an applicant intends to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.”

These algorithms aren’t likely to accurately predict the terrorist threats

Manhattan attack truckThe problem, tech experts said in their letter, is that such characteristics are neither defined nor quantified, and such algorithms would need to rely on more easily observable “proxies” that may have no relation to a terrorist threat, such as a person’s Facebook post criticizing US foreign policy.

“Algorithms designed to predict these undefined qualities could be used to arbitrarily flag groups of immigrants under a veneer of objectivity,” the experts said.

The letter went on to explain that any such software, even if it were the most accurate possible model, would return a high rate of false positives, or, “innocent individuals falsely identified as presenting a risk of crime or terrorism who would face serious repercussions not connected to their real level of risk.”

“Data mining is a powerful tool … And we recognize that the federal government must enforce immigration laws and maintain national security,” the experts said. “But the approach set forth by ICE is neither appropriate nor feasible.”

Dozens of rights groups and immigration advocates also took to Twitter to decry the initiative, which they dubbed a “digital Muslim ban,” and published a separate open letter urging the DHS to abandon the program.

“This initiative is tailor-made for discrimination,” they said. “It risks hiding politicized, discriminatory decisions behind a veneer of objectivity — at great cost to freedom of speech, civil liberties, civil rights, and human rights. It will hurt real, decent people and tear families apart.”

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The diner who has left waiters thousands of dollars as Tips for Jesus reveals himself to be a millionaire tech exec in the ‘PayPal Mafia’

jack selby

  • Venture capitalist and former PayPal executive Jack Selby finally confirmed he was the man behind “Tips for Jesus.” 
  • For years, Tips for Jesus has anonymously left tips of up to $5,000. 
  • Selby is a member of the so-called “PayPal Mafia” and a hedge fund director. 


The generous tipper behind Tips for Jesus has finally revealed his identity.

Starting in 2013, someone began leaving tips of more than $1,000 — and often up to $5,000. The mysterious tipster would document his generous ways on an Instagram account, and sign the receipt “Tips for Jesus.”

Big up to Christop! #godbless #thumbsup

A post shared by tipsforjesus (@tipsforjesus) on May 22, 2015 at 9:27pm PDT on


Jack Selby, a venture capitalist and former vice president at PayPal, has long been rumored to be the man behind the tips. However, it was only this week that he confirmed his identity.

On Thursday, The New York Post reported that Selby had been spotted leaving a $5,000 tip after buying $100 in drinks at a bar called Guyer’s in New York City. On Friday, the Tips for Jesus Instagram posted a photo of the article — seemingly confirming, finally, that Selby was the man behind the account.

The caption reads: “Thanks to everyone at Guyer’s! And yeah, forgot to take a pic of the receipt, so thanks @nypost! #wereback #godbless #tipsforjesus.”

Selby is a member of the so-called “PayPal Mafia” — early members of the tech company that went on to achieve even greater prominence in the industry. He had been an original employee, and served as senior vice president before PayPal was sold to eBay in 2002.

After leaving PayPal, Selby started macro hedge fund Clarium Capital Management with tech investor (and now Trump supporter) Peter Thiel. Currently, Selby is also the managing director at Thiel Capital.

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