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Insurance Technology: Insurance Industry Finally Goes Digital

Insurance Technology is riding a wave of innovation and investment that is attempting to do in a few short years what the insurance industry itself has failed to do over the last decade: a complete digital migration across all business processes.

Catch the Wave

  • With $4.6 Trillion in global annual premiums, or 5.6% of global GDP, the insurance industry is a highly attractive market where incumbents have been slow to embrace innovation
  • There are three competitive threats at work in the insurance market and they all point to Technology Disruption: (1) an explosion of well funded, InsurTech startups; (2) the feared entry of the B2C tech “titans” (i.e. Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc.); and (3) incumbents racing to adopt modern enabling technologies
  • Investors can sense the opportunity: InsurTech investments are up six-fold over the last five years across at all stages of funding
  • Whereas this first wave has primarily focused on distribution, a second wave is taking aim at how insurance products are designed, priced, and operated
  • Incumbents’ initial reaction has been to partner and invest mostly in enabling technology
  • These market forces point to increased M&A activity as customer demand will make InsurTech solutions key to an insurer’s customer acquisition and retention strategy

Insurance Tech Investments Ramping

Investment in Technology Pays Dividends

  • According to McKinsey, there is a clear relationship between higher technology spend and financial outperformance by insurance companies over the years
  • The top quartile insurance companies as measured by technology spend have outgrown their lower spending peers by 1.8x
    • Tech-heavy insurers have grown revenues at an average annual rate of 6.2% as compared to 3.4% for the rest of the industry
  • In a separate study, the insurance workforce is projected to shrink by up to 25% over the next 10 years driven by these same technology driven investments and the automation of manual processes
    • The most significant headcount reductions are expected to occur in general administration and operations
  • The potential for dramatic improvement in both top-line and bottom-line results is becoming too compelling for major players to ignore; insurers either up their tech budgets or get run over by peers and new entrants

Investment in Technology

Incumbents Hesitant to Adopt, Despite Benefits

  • Despite the compelling case to be made for increased tech adoption, incumbent insurers have been hesitant to broadly adopt new technology, due to:
    • A greater dependency on legacy systems to manage highly sensitive proprietary data and regulatory compliance issues
    • Switching costs can be very high and very time consuming
  • In addition, a first mover “game of chicken” is playing out across the insurance sector
    • Across multiple technology applications, only one-third of insurers surveyed say they see the advantages of being a first mover
    • Most are content to “wait and see” from the sidelines how the early movers make out
  • Much of this can be attributed to how highly risk averse the insurance culture is by its very nature; however, that too is nearing a tipping point as well funded, new entrants are beginning to force the issue with a tech focused approach to the market.

Insurers’ Approach to Adoption of Technology

At the Inflection Point of Tech Transformation

The insurance industry as a whole must rapidly transition from the antiquated, less profitable business model of old to the tech-focused model of the future.

Current Attributes:

  • Face-to-face interaction
  • Engagement delegated to agents and brokers
  • Paper intensive
  • Proprietary, structured databases
  • Opaque pricing
  • Manual underwriting with proprietary, highly structured data sets
  • Highly standardized products
  • Reliance on legacy point solutions
  • Slow processes
  • ~5-10% fraudulent claims

Future Attributes

  • Engagement across multiple channels: social, mobile, CRM, etc.
  • Increased personalization
  • Range of direct relationships with carriers to discreet relationships across value chain
  • Transparent, dynamic, highly customized product and pricing
  • Multi-source proprietary and third-party, structured and unstructured data pool
  • Peer-to-Peer and Blockchain enabled
  • Highly integrated, cloud-based systems built for mobile
  • Proactive efforts to limit liability through sensor data
  • Automated claim processing and payment
  • Reduced fraud

Technology's Potential Across the Value Chain

Early adopters of Insurance Tech have used it to improve operations across the value chain.
Technology's Potential Across the Value Chain

Omni-Channel Customer Engagement

  • Insurers must adapt their engagement strategies as Millennials come of age
    • Millennials are the largest U.S. demographic and reaching the age of buying their own insurance
    • These younger, more tech savvy customers interact with their insurers 2.5x more frequently via social media and 2.0x more frequently via mobile devices than older generations
  • Consumers, old and young, increasingly expect an “Amazonlike” experience from their insurers
    • Insurers have not been able to innovate fast enough to keep up with this shift in customer expectations
  • Insurers have taken initial steps in this direction by using more sophisticated digital sales and marketing strategies, which:
    • Are omni-channel and customer centric
    • Connect to consumer devices of all types, allowing for maximum customer interaction
    • Use predictive analytics to proactively engage customers, particularly those “at risk”
    • Use AI-enabled Chatbots to promote speed and quality of service

Broker Disintermediation & Threat of Tech Titans

  • Independent brokers will continue to be displaced by direct-to-consumer and direct-to-business insurance models, whether online or offline
    • More than 32% of U.S. consumers, and 50% of those ages 18 to 25, indicate they prefer to interact directly with insurers
    • Online comparison tools are evolving from simple lead generation to offering full insurance capabilities
  • The threat from B2C tech titans, leveraging brand and data analytics expertise, looms large
    • Tech titans have huge amounts of customer data which would enable them to better estimate and price risk associated with each individual
    • Incumbents are fearful that these tech titans will leverage their personal customer data to cherry pick the best customers (those who pay on time and who make minimal claims)
    • Nearly one-quarter of Gen Y customers and up to nearly one-half in Latin America and developing AsiaPacific say they are very likely to purchase insurance from a technology company

Customers Likely to Purchase Insurance from Tech Companies

Massive Opportunity for Process Automation

  • It is estimated that 30 or fewer manual processes account for 40% of an insurer’s cost of doing business and 80% of customer activity
    • Digitizing these processes can eliminate 25%+ of these manual labor costs
  • Automation is now a “must have” and is being layered in across all functions and operations
    • Increased focus on more advanced automation technologies including natural language processing, machine learning, and AI
    • Huge volume of IoT and wearables data requires intelligent, automated solutions for analysis
    • Data for predictive strategic decisions, such as identifying which product is best suited for a client given historical data and future projections based on historical trends.

Massive Opportunity for Process Automation

Big Need for Big Data Analytics

  • Every day 2.5 Exabytes of structured and unstructured data are created
    • By 2020, IDC estimates there will be 30 billion internet-connected and mobile devices › Today’s automobile contains an average of 100 sensors
  • Challenge and Opportunity: Efficiently and effectively translate big data into actionable information which helps insurers better price risk and process claims
  • Big data analytics is impacting the entire insurance value chain
    • 91% of insurance companies expect to implement company wide big data strategy
    • 81% of insurance companies expect to increase big data spending

Opportunity for Big Data Applications

IoT: Real World Insurance Applications

83% of insurers expect IoT to bring about complete transformation or significant change in the industry.

  • IoT Market expected to grow from $2.7 trillion (4.9 billion connected devices) in 2015 to nearly $7.1 trillion (20.4 billion connected devices) in 2020, implying a 20% CAGR
    • Sensors are becoming smaller, cheaper, more efficient, and boast enhanced processing power
  • IoT tech enables insurers to enhance their risk pricing models and accident prevention initiatives › Customers are increasingly comfortable with sharing their personal IoT data generated by their cars and other products such as FitBit, Nest, and Wave
    • More frequent and personal data from customers would allow insurers to better price risk associated with each individual customer
    • Customers want something in return for sharing this data and insurers will have to offer creative incentives
  • The potential for IoT to significantly impact the insurance landscape is evident, but insurers have yet to make the leap to full-fledged investment and adoption.

Gartner’s Global IoT Device Projections

  • Auto is a prime example of the potential impact IoT will have on incumbents' insurance models
    • Technology-assisted driving creates a less risky environment, better pricing for drivers
    • 24x7 monitoring of driving patterns and car security allows for enhanced profitability through more accurate pricing of risk and preventive engagement
    • More personalized and more frequent interactions with insured drivers
    • Risk ownership is shifting based on sharing economy (i.e. pay per mile) and autonomous driving
    • Faster claim processing, through automated loss and damage related data provided by sensors
  • What needs to happen for the flood gates of IoT adoption to open:
    • Insurers must enhance ability to manage and analyze the volume and velocity of data generated by IoT
    • Industry-wide security and privacy standards must be established

Customer Likelihood to Adopt New Technologies by Age and Affluence

P2P Insurers: Revolutionizing an Age Old Concept

  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) utilizes crowdsourcing and social networking to create a shared insurance environment
    • Pooling of “like-minded” peer groups, such as owners of cars, homes, and small businesses to contribute capital to the group and absorb each other’s risk
    • Introduces strong incentive to keep claims down as unused premiums are returned or rolled
  • P2P entirely disintermediates traditional insurers
    • Insurers must enhance their product, pricing, and technology offerings to reduce customer turnover to P2P
  • Blockchain technology and its use of distributed ledger is key to the functioning and proliferation of P2P insurance
    • Speed and simplification of onboarding a new customer
    • Automation of executing and enforcing performance of a contract
    • Greater fairness and transparency
    • Automate underwriting and claim handling
    • Lower administrative costs
    • Easier detection of fraud

P2P Insurers

Part-Time Insurance for a Part-Time Economy

  • Staggering growth: driven by the likes of Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb, the sharing economy is expected to grow in excess of 22x from $15B in 2015 to $335B in 2025, implying a 30% 10-year CAGR
  • The sharing economy is relatively new turf for insurers, presenting growth opportunities for insurance incumbents and new arrivals alike
    • New complexities introduced that traditional insurance products don’t account for
  • Insurers must modify and upgrade business processes and operations to capitalize on this expansive and highly-attractive greenfield opportunity
    • New business insurance products will be required to keep up – e.g. pay as you go, “swipe” on/off coverage
  • New entrants have a jump on the incumbents who need to quickly adapt in order to catch up

Technology Solutions to Insurance
Source and images: AGC Partners 

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