The biggest innovations in insurance over the next three years will not be in the technology tools themselves, but in how they are designed to interact with customers, agents, employees and other human partners. That’s Accenture’s belief about the insurtech space.
The international consulting firm issued its Insurance Technology Vision 2017 research showing that digital technology continues to reshape the insurance industry at “an unprecedented and quickening pace.” The company found that 87 percent of insurance respondents agree that we have entered an era of technology advancement that is no longer marked by linear progression, but by an exponential rate of change.
“What sets this new wave of disruption apart from those that preceded it is that we are firmly in control of how technology reshapes our experiences, our industry and the wider world,” the company wrote. “It’s no longer people who are adapting to technology—rather, the technology is adapting to us. We’re putting technology to work to disrupt ourselves, our organizations and entire industries.”
Accenture pointed to examples of technology and its impact on insurance:
- Adjusters use Tractable’s deep learning systems to simplify the triage process after a car accident. Instead of manually scanning pictures, they use machine-trained estimates for repair costs, enabling agents to accelerate a claim past triage and into repair, salvage, or appraisal.
- WeGoLook is an ‘Uber of inspections’ that can dispatch 30,000 ‘lookers’ to collect real-time data, photos or video on behalf of insurers for automotive and property inspections or insurance claims. Global claims management firm Crawford & Co acquired the company late last year. “We see insurance organizations combining with unlikely partners to create or spin off new ventures using platform technologies,” Accenture wrote.
- North America’s John Hancock Insurance leverages the Vitality incentive-based wellness platform from South Africa’s Discovery to reward life customers for healthy living.
- XL Catlin’s XL Innovate venture capital fund has invested in Lemonade, a ‘born in the new’ insurance company that promises to deliver instant online insurance by replacing brokers and bureaucracy with bots and machine learning. Lemonade is also taking transparency to a new level in an endeavor to make a step change in the consumer-to-carrier trust level. For example, it takes a flat, upfront fee from premium income rather than profiting from claims which it rejects.
- Haven Lifev is selling life insurance fully online, with fast and simple underwriting. The adage that life insurance is too complex to be sold online is falling away. The products being sold currently are certainly simple, but AI, immersion and other emerging technologies will support more and more.
- “As the digital age equips us with new tools, insurers have opportunities to redefine their role and help drive the next wave of evolution in society,” the report said.