The insurance industry is warming up to RFID technology. Insurers represent a strong market for applications like asset tracking for IT items and document management. But this morning’s announcement from the Hartford Financial Services Group takes the potential benefits of RFID to a higher level.
By teaming up with cold chain solution provider Intelleflex, the insurer hopes to potentially save billions in claims, while also reducing the staggering amounts of paperwork, documentation, and investigatory research that accompany each claim.
You see, one-third of all fresh produce shipped goes bad before reaching the retailer, representing $35 billion worth of losses each year. Some of those losses are actually covered by insurance claims. The Hartford hopes to use Intelleflex’s XC3 Technology™ RFID readers and tags to provide shippers, distributors and retailers with the ability to route product to maximize quality, salability and reduce unnecessary perishable waste. Placed in pallets of produce at harvest, RFID tags continuously monitor the temperature and condition of produce as it travels through the distribution process, calculating the remaining shelf life.
“Identifying cold chain issues quickly and routing perishables based on remaining shelf life is critical to enhancing customer profitability and operational effectiveness,” said Alexander McGinley, marine underwriting officer at The Hartford. “This new technology will help our customers decrease the amount of produce wasted due to temperature variations.”
While the Hartford is focusing on the produce market, think about the possibilities of using RFID when it comes to the claims litigation process. A bank or financial institution that reports theft of a group of laptops, for example, might be able to isolate the last place the equipment was if it was tagged with RFID for asset tracking. The same theory holds true for retailers, who fight a constant battle with shrink during the supply chain process. Item level tagging, which allows complete visibility of an item as it moves through the supply chain, can help to isolate where a product left its intended route, and help to catch the parties involved, and therefore limit the exposure to insurance companies.
“The Hartford is strongly committed to open innovation in helping us get to the future faster,” said Jacqueline LeSage Krause, vice president of innovation and corporate venture capital at The Hartford. “Hartford Ventures allows us to identify and collaborate with leading private companies to develop solutions that address the unique needs of our insurance and wealth management customers.”