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Do insurers adjust prices for the adoption of loss prevention?

Risk & Analytics
Risk Culture

By Simon Sølvsten | May 27, 2022

New PhD study uncovers what influence the use of property loss prevention technology has on property insurance pricing

In theory, loss prevention should, as the name implies, reduce the loss for the risk carriers and the expected present value of losses. In a competitive insurance market, where the premium is given through market bidding, expected potential savings from investing in loss prevention technologies should become measurable in the insurance price.

Based on a new PhD study, this article conveys the main results of the question: What influence has the use of property loss prevention technology on property insurance pricing? This understanding is sought empirically by regressing price of policy on number of bidding carriers, total insured square metres, history of experienced claim events, all claims cost and loss prevention technologies in use.

Main results

There is a tendency in the data that shows that smaller claims influence the cost of insurance more than larger claims when plotting the data. This aligns with the pure premium method which states claims influence the cost of insurance. It is therefore expected that claims likely matter when underwriters set the price of the contract. As large claims and frequency claims potentially have different impacts on the insurance premium, this relationship was further investigated. It was found that the size of claims has a significant yet different influence on prices. The results of the empirical analysis show that as the size of the claim increases, the relative influence the claim has on the price decreases.

While policyholders claim history ex-ante risk transfer significantly influences the cost of insurance, little evidence supports that the use of loss prevention technologies influences the price. Only water leak detection technology seems to have any measurable downward influence on the price at the .9 confidence level. This leads us to the understanding that technologies that reduces the cost in the tail of the risk distribution where the probability for claims are lowest have less influence on the price compared to technologies that limit smaller yet likely more often experienced damages. While risk carriers’ price should reflect policyholders’ risk, risk heterogeneity is likely more challenging to measure in the tail of the distribution where there are few claims. It is therefore likely that the influence of loss prevention technologies is muted if they primarily influence severe and costly damages.

Conclusion

As only limited support is found in the empirical analysis to back investment in loss prevention, the policyholder may be best served by determining investment strategies for loss prevention technology in order to minimise own direct costs rather than for the lowering of insurance prices. One explanation may be that all municipalities have invested to a degree where further investments no longer influence the price of the contract. This explanation seems unlikely due to the variation in the use of loss prevention technologies amongst the municipalities. Another explanation may be that there is not sufficient competition between insurers for the price to reflect the marginal cost in the contract. The latter is consistent with the findings in the empirical analysis that highlight an increased number of competitors significantly reduce the price.

About the article

The research presented in this article is based on a PhD thesis about the economic net benefits of loss prevention technologies in the context of risk management and insurance.

The presented research is a summary of the journal article entitled "Do insurers adjust prices for the adoption of loss prevention technologies appropriately. Evidence from Danish Municipal contracts”. If you are interested in reading the full article, you can read it at the library at University of Southern Denmark, Odense.

The project was funded by WTW with financial contributions from the Region of Southern Denmark and the Danish municipalities of Faxe, Frederikshavn, Hedensted, Hjørring, Horsens, Københavns, Mariagerfjord, Middelfart, Nordfyns, Randers, Ringkøbing-Skjern, Skanderborg, and Struer as well as the insurance companies Protector Forsikring and RiskPoint.

Author

Head of Organizational Resilience Research

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