IIG News

Geyser Internet of Things

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

Simply put, it is the connection of everyday items, e.g. your geyser or car, to the internet and/or each other.  Sensors on these items allow them to generate and exchange information with very little human intervention.

What is insurance?

Insurance is an arrangement one has with a provider to protect oneself from financial loss.

We have joined the concepts of IoT and insurance to help clients address everyday problems they experience with their electric geysers.

Our obligation as financial services providers are to understand our clients’ needs and ensure we design solutions that meet those needs rather than provide only standardised financial products. The inconvenience of a burst geyser is a common client pain point, as is the resultant damage to roofs, ceilings, walls, carpets and furniture, which costs on average R13 000 per event. Another client pain point is excessive spend on electricity. The average South African geyser accounts for around 39%* of monthly household energy use – between 410 and 450 kWh* per month – providing hot water for a family of four. Therefore, reducing geyser energy consumption leads to direct savings on a household’s monthly electricity bill. With millions of electric geysers across South Africa with a life span of four to seven years, it is not difficult to appreciate the significant combined damage, impact on the environment and strain on the national electricity grid that electric geysers cause.

The solution

The solution, geyser telemetry, consists of a telemetry device and multiple health sensors that are attached to the geyser, which is linked to an app on the client’s smartphone or tablet. The telemetry device and app are connected 24/7 to the insurer (e.g. Nedbank Insurance) and a technology provider (e.g. Sensor Networks). When the device senses moisture in the drip tray, it immediately shuts off water and electrical supply to the geyser, which limits damage. A fault notification is then sent to the insurer, which triggers the first notification of loss and the process of arranging a plumber on behalf of the client. A push notification is sent to the app on the client’s smartphone alerting them of the event as well as the steps they need to follow.

 Insurance value

Nedbank Insurance has been providing our geyser IoT solution, Senseable, to our clients since September 2019. This has led to reduced resultant damage claims. Senseable has enabled us to implement a ‘predict and prevent’ approach as opposed to a ‘react and replace’ process, as we can detect and resolve geyser faults proactively, before they affect the client.

 Client value

The value of this solution to the client includes early warning of geyser faults; improved turnaround on burst-geyser repair; geyser electricity savings of as much as 30%**; as well as the ability to set up heating schedules and change the temperature remotely, to set holiday mode so that the geyser is turned off while they are away, and to share the app with family or tenants. ‘…From the amount of electricity I’ve saved, to being able to easily adjust the geyser on or off times when the seasons change, to the fact that when the sensor picked up a geyser leak, I immediately received a call from Nedgroup Insurance, who sent a plumber out within four hours to fix the issue, plus follow-up client service calls to check whether we were happy with the service …’ A direct quote from one of our Senseable clients***.

 * http://www.eskom.co.za/sites/idm/Documents/20130919Eskomtrimmingbrochure.pdf

** T&Cs apply. Saving based on a combination of size of geyser, temperature before installation, set up of heating schedule and geyser use.

*** Any endorsements do not constitute financial advice.