Insurance companies are known as the ones that pick up the pieces and write the claim checks after an accident or catastrophe. But American Family Insurance is taking a decidedly different and proactive approach, by helping customers prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place.

American Family Insurance is partnering with Nest to bring the safety benefits of smart home technology to its customers in Minnesota by offering them the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm at no cost. In addition, customers who enroll in the Nest Safety Rewards program and install the device will also be eligible for a 5 percent discount on their American Family homeowners policy. Minnesota customers who have installed other qualifying home automation devices are also eligible for the discount.

“American Family is committed to caring for our customers all the time, not just in the event of a claim,” said American Family Insurance Walker agent Ben Brovold. “We’re one of the first insurance companies to partner with Nest to bring the Nest Protect and Nest Safety Rewards to our customers. By providing these devices and programs to customers at no cost, American Family can help prevent tragedies and keep families safe.”

American Family’s goal is to work with customers to proactively protect their homes by encouraging the use of connected home devices. These devices use smart technology to monitor potential risks and allow users to check statuses, make adjustments and receive alerts, even when not at home, via a smart phone or tablet. For example, Nest Protect ($99 retail value) speaks to tell you what and where the danger is, sends phone notifications, and tests itself to make sure it’s working.

By enrolling in Safety Rewards, a customer can authorize Nest to share basic, summarized information with American Family to verify that Nest Protect is installed and working correctly. Specifically, once a month, Nest will tell American Family if Nest Protect’s batteries are charged, its sensors are working and its Wi-Fi connection is good.

American Family partners with companies like Nest as part of its commitment to innovation that benefits customers. Last year, the company partnered with Microsoft Corp. to launch a unique business accelerator for startups focused on home automation. The goal of the accelerator was to assist the next generation of startups to create advancements to help lead to safer and smarter homes.

“This is another way we can proactively protect families and homes,” said Brovold. “We are driven to provide value to our customers beyond just helping them recover from tragedies and accidents. We want to help them prevent those events from happening.”

American Family homeowners insurance customers can sign up with Nest Safety Rewards and receive the new Nest Protect for delivery beginning in mid-July. For more information, visit www.amfam.com/nest.

American Family is also considering plans to expand the program to other operating states.

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