How strategic investment into VR company aims to disrupt insurance industry
When most people think home or property insurance, they aren’t thinking of virtual reality, the computer-generated experience that has taken over everything from video games to commercial real estate. In fact, when most people are asked about home insurance, they’re most likely recalling the arduous process involved with assessing properties and filing claims. But for Columbus-based State Auto Labs and California-based Matterport, thinking outside the box isn’t just a requirement, it’s the foundation of their partnership. With the support of Rev1 Ventures, State Auto Labs has turned their (virtual) eye toward transforming the insurance industry.
“Matterport is an immersive 3D media technology that enables our customers to take a snapshot of reality,” said Bill Schmitt senior vice president of corporate and business development at Matterport. “We’ve created a 3D camera-based system for fully documenting, visualizing and collaborating around a real-world space. We also have a cloud system, which reconstructs a digital version of that space and presents it to you remotely. By partnering with State Auto, we hope to drive the adoption of this VR solution in the insurance space.”
For State Auto Labs, the investment presents an array of opportunities. By providing 3D models of real-world spaces, Matterport allows for the complete documentation of a space at the beginning and end of projects or before and after damage. If a new home needs to be insured or a company needs to assess fire damage, their camera system can be set up to stitch together the images of the site as it exists. This allows the site to be “visited” remotely and streamlines the claims process with fewer trips and a more comprehensive understanding of what is being insured. With this tech on their side, State Auto Labs and Matterport hope to revolutionize the insurance industry with a solution built around efficiency and transparency.
“The technology applies not just to the carrier, but the claims adjusters, forensic engineers, reconstruction contractors and everyone along the line,” said Schmitt. “State Auto Labs is constantly evaluating tech that can drive innovation and transparency, and Matterport has adapted our solution to the insurance space because of its unique capabilities for documentation. Once you’ve completed a scan, there’s really no question of how a space looked at the time. You can get in and out of a claims situation in less than an hour and view a 3D model a few hours later.”
After launching a $25 million corporate venture fund in collaboration with Rev1, Matterport was State Auto Lab’s first strategic investment. Their partnership has not only shown State Auto Labs’ reach and willingness to leverage innovative technology, but also their keen business sense: Matterport was named to Inc. 5000 list of the country’s fastest-growing privately held companies in America.
“This investment was a key endorsement for us in the insurance space,” said Schmitt. “Once the State Auto Labs team came out and we started collaborating around the use of this technology, we knew that this was going to be an important partnership. We’re happy to have these roots in the Midwest and we’re excited to see how we can reinvent a space that’s been relatively untouched.”