Some predictions for 2021 from the Editor’s keyboard;
GLOBAL CYBER ATTACKS – GET READY FOR COVID-20
China’s long march to world government has gathered pace in 2020, knocking Trump out of the White House, acquiring more minerals, arable land and infrastructure companies globally, plus inflicting irreparable damage to Western economies with the Covid-19 virus. The sequel to Covid-19 won’t be another health pandemic, don’t worry about that. Instead it will be a cyber virus that freezes ATMs, switches off the internet in selected areas, or hacks public sector bank accounts, or Bitcoin holdings, and then hides – or `uninvents’ the money.
Assuming China does get upset about Taiwan or people boycotting products, then expect attacks on government departments, payment systems and major infrastructure first. That way Western govenments get the blame by a disgruntled population suddenly denied benefits, online banking, a smartphone signal, or are unable to watch Emmerdale due to a power station failure.
UK CYBER THREATS
2021 will be a year when people suffer mass unemployment as the furlough gravyb train finally hits the buffers. The few still working in small companies, or freelancing, will have to accept lower wages. There will be a mass exodus from London and other cities where rents are simply too high, unless you work for a large corporation or the public sector. With the financial pressure on, people will click on links they would normally ignore. Those accessing government grants/loans or government departments allocating that cash, will be easy targets. Insurers would also be wise to approach governments, local Councils, or NGOs like charities, with real-time cyber insurance products because those public sector wallahs are going to need all the help they can get.
Those bigger insurers who have staff working from home need to invest in automated cyber products that detect data breaches immediately, scan email attachments, alert employers when devices are being plugged into USB slots, or track unusual patterns of online usage. The temptations for those working from home are multi-layerd, still evolving and may depend on family circumstances too.
E-SCOOTERS, CHASE THE GREEN POUND!
As the UK and other countries rush headlong into relying upon an EV powered transport infrastructure, without anyone really knowing how many extra gigawatts of generating capacity we might need, or where it will be generated, e-scooters will be the trend of `21.
City Mayors and Councils alike will gleefully cut the ribbon on various trials, money will be no object tons of it will be thrown at EV subsidies in 2021. So insurtechs and specialist MGAs are in pole position to pick up the app-based micro premiums, and juicy fleet contracts, that will be flowing in. The boom will start in April `21 and fizzle out in late 2022, so don’t forget to surf the green wave and sell out before the PI claims – and the power cuts – hit hard.
PAYG HEALTHCARE PLANS WILL BECOME THE NORM
The default position of the NHS is currently, `sorry, we are too busy,’ and I see no reason for that reluctance to see real live patients changing before the end of 2022, never mind 2021.
That means employers with more than 10 staff, or people earning over 25K who care about their family health will look for products that offer 24/7 diagnosis, seeing real doctors face-to-face if necessary, and getting treatment in days, not weeks or months. The sad truth is that the NHS has become a global charity, dishing out (or restricting) many treatments based on its ever-shifting identity politics, rather than providing universal healthcare accessible on demand to all UK citizens.
That post-Covid, woke ideology offers a golden opportunity to big insurers to set-up an efficient private healthcare system that can deal with a myriad of problems BEFORE they become life-threatening. For once, insurers have the chance to be seen as the good guys by Joe Public. You could literally save thousands of lives in 2021 by offering rapid access to GPs and Consultants. So don’t blow it, price the products correctly and meet high expectations of old fashioned consumer service, available to all policyholders equally.
THE INTERNET OF THINGS IS ALL THE RISK PRICING DATA YOU NEED
Home insurance will make great strides towards a new modus operandi in 2021. The old annual Buildings/Contents policy will gradually be replaced by a PAYG subs model, hooked up to the devices and gadgets in your home, and the premiums will be ultimately controlled by the customer’s everyday data, not a 1990s postcode and occupation box-ticking exercise. By linking Alexa, Leakbot, a Ring doorbell, a webcam in the conservatory and the geo-location data from the occupants smartphones, insurers that are switched on will be able to price risk, cross-sell and switch cover on/off like a tap.
UBER-ISE YOUR CAR INSURANCE, OR DIE
In car insurance, just like home, those that refuse to embrace tech will find life tough in the market, because you’ll get the pricing wrong without the customer giving consent to share data. How to gather data? Could be smartphones, USB sticks in cars, or FNOL gadgets like the ThingCo Theo, but your car insurance model that worked so well on a comparison site back in 2019 will begin to fall apart like a 1970s Fiat 127 in 2021 if you insist on making consumers fill in 5 pages of life history on the Meerkats website, then do the same again on Go Compare… and same process again on Confused.
Worse still, the safest drivers, who are the best risks with the greatest long term profit margin, are going to defect to the new insurtech driven brands where data personalises the quote and PAYG is the default payment model. Nobody really knows if mass car commuting Mon-Fri will ever return, but cars offer physical protection from Covid and other threats. People will always want the option of jumping in their cars for some journeys, no matter how many cycle lanes, plant pot obstacles and Council ULEZ tolls they have to negotiate. For that reason alone, car insurance will become a smarter, more flexible proposition in 2021, and beyond.
Have a steady Christmas, and see you in the New Year.
When I say New Year, I mean May obviously 🙂