SA IoT startup Sensor Networks provides smart home insurance solutions to Santam customers

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South African Internet of Things (IoT) startup Sensor Networks has partnered Santam Specialist Real Estate to provide smart home insurance solutions to homeowners across the country.

Founded in 2015, Sensor Networks has built a bespoke platform aimed at helping insurance companies reduce risk through the use of low-cost smart sensors and its integrated IoT platform.

The startup, which last raised funding one year ago, has now partnered Santam Specialist Real Estate, the property division of South African insurance company Santam, in a move that sees the company roll out IoT smart geyser devices designed by Sensor Networks into homes across Bloemfontein, and nationally in the coming months.

Geyser-related issues are the most common household insurance claims in South Africa, with geysers only having an expected life of around seven years. A Sensor Networks smart geyser device is retroactively fitted to the customer’s electric geyser and linked to their smartphone via an app. In the event of a leak, burst geyser or blown element, the device recognises the problem and automatically shuts off the water and electricity supplies to the geyser, limiting any resultant consequential damage.

Using Sensor Networks’ bespoke IoT hardware and software platforms, Santam Specialist Real Estate provides clients with an added layer of control. Clients are able to manage their geyser temperature and heating schedule, while Santam receives immediate notifications when an issue occurs, leading to the speedy processing and resolution of any resultant claims.

“This technology allows us, as the insurer, to either pre-empt or react proactively to potential incidents, rather than acting on a reactive basis. Our policyholders benefit by either having a potential incident completely averted or the effects of the resultant damage being significantly reduced,” said Karl Bishop, head of Santam Specialist Real Estate.

Sensor Networks founder Mark Allewell said IoT and insurtech go hand in hand.

“IoT sensors of any kind are much-vaunted, but Sensor Networks has more than two years of real-world use-case data, placing us at the forefront of the industry on a global scale,” he said.

Allewell said Sensor Networks was currently running proof-of-concept projects on a fully integrated smart home solution, giving insurance providers the ability to reduce risk and build claims prediction models based on streaming data received by IoT sensors.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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