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Hartford Encourages Its Food-Industry Clients to Deploy RFID Temperature Tags

A strategic alliance between Hartford Financial Services Group and Intelleflex is designed to improve visibility into the conditions of perishable-food shipments, thereby reducing spoilage and helping to lower the cost of insurance premiums.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 10, 2011Insurance company Hartford Financial Services Group—also known as The Hartford—is recommending that its customers employ Intelleflex's RFID system for tracking the conditions under which fresh produce is transported throughout the supply chain. The partnership involves the use of Intelleflex's XC3 RFID technology to monitor temperature conditions at the pallet level, by placing ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) battery-assisted passive (BAP) RFID tags with built-in temperature sensors within each container, or on every pallet, and by then using Intelleflex readers to capture that data throughout the supply chain.

The partnership was established between Intelleflex and Hartford Ventures, a corporate venture capital group focused on early- and expansion-stage opportunities that are strategically relevant to the insurance and wealth-management industries. Although Intelleflex might qualify as such an opportunity, Hartford Ventures is not currently investing in Intelleflex, according to the RFID firm, and neither company will comment on whether Hartford would do so in the future.

Intelleflex's TMT 8500 Temperature Tag

Thanks to this partnership, Hartford could request information from clients in order to gain a greater understanding of supply chain conditions at the time that loss of product occurred due to spoilage. And customers using the system would benefit not only from greater visibility into the supply chain, as well as the opportunity to respond to temperature fluctuations, but also from better insurance plans from Hartford, due to the reduced risk of product spoilage. In some cases, for example, clients that might not have previously qualified for certain insurance policies would now be able to do so with the RFID system in place.

Alexander McGinley, marine underwriting officer, Hartford Financial Services
What's more, by using Intelleflex's XC3 RFID technology, existing clients of Hartford could qualify for a reduction in their insurance premiums, according to Alexander McGinley, the company's marine underwriting officer, who oversees insurance policies involving the transportation of goods. For Hartford, he says, the solution could provide valuable data from its insured customers in the event of a claim.

"If a covered cause of loss were to have occurred to covered property—spoilage, in this instance—we would ask the insured to furnish us with the temperature records of the [relevant] transit venture," McGinley explains. With the RFID data, he says, "we would have a better understanding of when the product spoiled, in whose care, custody or control, etc."

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