Bitesize InsurTech: 100Plus
June 26, 2019
100Plus offers a smart watch that can trigger an emergency response when it detects its wearer may be in danger.
The company, which was previously known as iBeat but has recently rebranded, uses a proprietary sensor in its watch to monitor the user’s heart rate. Upon detection of irregularities – for example a drop in heart rate or cardiac arrest – the watch connects the user with the company’s 24/7 dispatch teams.
These teams can contact emergency services as well as the user’s emergency contacts, which are provided by the user when they receive and set up the watch. Built-in GPS gives these contacts the user’s exact location and connection to two cellular networks ensures reliable connectivity. An emergency response can also be triggered manually through the watch’s emergency help button.
The watch also tracks steps and activity to encourage user activity and wellbeing and enables remote patient monitoring by sharing heart and activity data with users’ doctors.
CEO and founder, Ryan Howard, stressed that the watch is intended to be functional but also aesthetically pleasing and “elegant” – the watch itself comes with customisable watch faces (digital and analogue) and is water resistant.
Targeted at the 50+ demographic, 100Plus aims to empower users to live independently by giving reassurance that they will receive support in a health-related emergency.
As of 2019, under the Remote Patient Monitoring scheme, Medicare reimburses the cost of the 100Plus watch and associated services, and the company expects FDA approval in the next 60 days.
100Plus has partnerships with North American insurers like TransAmerica, and in Europe has had a strategic partnership with SCOR Life and Health Ventures since 2018.
The Oxbow Partners view
The use of wearable technology in insurance is nothing new – companies like Vitality have been using wearables to encourage healthy lifestyles or gather data to inform better risk selection at the point of underwriting for years.
Where 100Plus’s proposition differs from most wearables however, is that it focuses on managing events rather than trying to prevent that risk from occurring. Most insurers or InsurTechs that use wearables – for example Vitality or Impact 25 member yulife encourage and measure physical activity and connect this to lower premiums or other rewards (for example yulife offers vouchers for stores such as ASOS).
Not only is this a unique proposition in the wearable space, but it also enables 100Plus to avoid one of the main pitfalls of wearable technology in insurance which is manipulation, as this recent video from China that did the rounds on social media illustrated.
With the firm’s primary focus on rolling out the Remote Patient Monitoring scheme to the 60 million Medicare users in the US, there has been less focus on developing insurance use cases or expanding to other geographies recently. Indeed, 100Plus is focused solely in the US market despite partnership with European reinsurer SCOR. But, if this effort proves successful and useful experience data is developed, we would anticipate significant interest from a number of global insurers.