The Home Security Observatory: understanding domestic risks to ensure better prevention and care

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Ⓒ iStock / Getty Images Plus / gorodenkoff

In creating the Home Security Observatory, France’s leading names in household protection and risk prevention have pooled their expertise, with France’s top property and casualty insurer the Covéa Group (MAAF, MMA and GMF) joining forces with risk management specialist Saretec, and household protection solutions provider Verisure. The three partners work together to understand the various domestic risks and related trends, publishing themed information booklets providing data on French lifestyles, key figures and expert analysis from sociologists and researchers.

The Home Security Observatory believes that when it comes to domestic accidents, prevention is better than cure. It strives to understand these risks in order to make French people more aware. Its main focus is on solutions, offering advice on how to make simple changes that can help to limit or eliminate these risks on a day-to-day basis. The goal of the Observatory is to make households safer and better protected by providing information and raising awareness among the general public.

Expert advice: Three questions for Covéa Group Marketing Director Laurent Pigelet

As Covéa’s main representative on the Home Security Observatory, Laurent Pigelet tells us more about the purpose of this shared initiative – which mirrors our mutualist values – and the issues it addresses.

What are the aims of the Home Security Observatory?

Laurent Pigelet: By bringing together partners that are among the best in their field, the Home Security Observatory has three main goals. The first is to gather high quality, objective data to gain a better understanding of domestic risk. The second is to provide guidance for our customers and members on how best to protect themselves and limit damage in the event of an accident. Lastly, we want to encourage people to take steps to prevent these risks, which can have a major impact on our policyholders’ lives.

Why is Covéa involved in the Observatory?

Laurent Pigelet: Our position as France’s leading property and casualty insurer means that we are able to pool expertise in relation to the essential job of collecting data and analysis. Furthermore, as a mutual insurance group, we believe it is essential to actively prevent accidents. This is the very essence of mutual insurance: because we all want to avoid accidents as much as possible, we share the risk with our policyholders. This is what the Home Security Observatory is all about. We are committed to promoting responsible insurance.

What can be learned from the new information booklet on water damage?

Laurent Pigelet: The first lesson is that water damage is a high-frequency risk that can have many causes, such as water seepage, leaks, burst pipes and blocked gutters. The second lesson is that one in two cases of water damage can be avoided within the home by sticking to simple prevention rules, such as checking for leaks, airing rooms every day, resealing bathrooms every two years and keeping water pipes well maintained. The third lesson is that by making your home safer, you will also be helping to protect the planet by using less water. A dripping tap wastes four litres of water each hour, while a leaking toilet waste 25 litres an hour.

« Prevention is central to what we do. As France’s leading personal property insurer, it is our duty to get the message across and provide clear information, working with established partners. »

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Laurent Pigelet
Covéa Group Marketing Director

The Observatory's information booklets: water damage, theft and house fires

Since it was set up in 2018, the Home Security Observatory has published information that is useful to everyone and organised regular meetings on the main home safety risks, as presented in its information booklets.

Water damage

Water damage is the main cause of home insurance claims for our policyholders. The Observatory published a booklet on this topic in 2024, giving an overview of the issue and recommending measures to be taken. In particular, it explains what to do in the event of a claim, how to proceed after the event and how it can be avoided. It is worth noting that the age of a property is an additional risk factor in water damage. However, the biggest problem is having a home where the pipes are not visible, which in many cases means having to rip everything up to find the cause of a leak.

Theft

On average, a burglary takes place every two minutes in France. The information booklet looks at the different aspects of these break-ins and gives recommendations. It identifies what properties are usually concerned, the regions with the highest levels of theft and the items that are most commonly stolen. Nearly 75% of burglaries happen on a weekday and most occur in July, August, November and December. Having this data helps people to be more vigilant about preventing theft.

House fires

This comes second in the cause of claims most feared by people in France, after theft. The threat posed by house fires is still grossly underestimated. While people are aware of the risks associated with electrical fixtures, as well as cooking and heating equipment, they do not always take the right precautions. For example, in four out of 10 cases, gas and fuel oil appliances are not checked every year. French people also do not understand what is covered by insurance and the material and financial consequences of a fire.

Pooling and sharing expertise to support better prevention is what the Home Security Observatory is all about. By providing data and feedback from its founder partners, it aims to be the main source of information about home safety practices.

Responding to new uses by combining the best of digital technology and people

In addition to maintaining a strong personal relationship with its customers and members, Covéa has been committed for a number of years to transforming its customer relations with the increasing use of digital technology and AI.

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