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IAG eyes more IoT investments

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IAG has made its first investment in Internet of Things (IoT) technology through its corporate venture arm Firemark Ventures and is keen for more if the right opportunities come along.

Last week the business announced it has taken a minority stake in Adelaide-based Myriota, a rapidly growing start-up specialising in low-cost and low-power satellite connectivity for IoT applications that counts former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull among its investors.

IAG declined to reveal the size of the investment in Myriota but says it is consistent with how the business approaches venture start-ups: to help the insurer connect with new and emerging technologies with the potential to assist its customers and business.

“The Firemark Ventures fund is focused on emerging technology, so we do see opportunity for more investment in the Internet of Things, along with artificial intelligence, machine learning and sensors,” Firemark Ventures Managing Partner Scott Gunther told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“Our focus is finding start-up partners doing great things with technologies that have the potential to reinvent the insurance experience for our customers, so we look through that lens to find the right partners for our business.”

IAG will work with Myriota to develop IoT-based insurance solutions for its agriculture and business customers.

The aim is to help the insurer’s customers monitor and manage a wide range of assets such as checking water reserves or haystacks on a farm, machineries or goods in transit.

“IAG is looking at digital connected experiences to create value and better experiences for customers,” Mr Gunther said.

“IoT technology has the potential to unlock new ways to help our customers manage risks, which has until now been challenging without a physical presence on the ground.”

He told insuranceNEWS.com.au the business is currently partnering with agri customers to explore trialling the technology for monitoring haystacks and will soon look at extending that to transport and logistics.

IoT is a term that generally refers to the billions of physical devices such as cars and tablets that are connected to the Internet, collecting and sharing data.

Industry think-tank the Geneva Association in May released a report saying IoT is the way forward for insurers. Real-time data generated by IoT-linked devices is a source of valuable insights for insurers, helping them improve risk reduction and prevention capabilities as well as expand scope of coverage.