Where are we heading during the 2020s? Everyone agrees more data, more automation and in sectors like home and motor, more rentals, less ownership. Broad trends are good, but what about the detail?
Predictions are always hard to make but Paul Williams ACII, who has spent 30 years in the insurance sector and is the CEO of successful UK-founded insurtech Ripe Thinking, is willing to have a go;
“In an industry where legacy technology and restrictive processes continue to hinder the agility of insurance products, the journey to 2030 will be pivotal. The recent huge surge in investment within the insurtech space could be a signal of the impending race to overhaul product development, deployment, customer experience and performance within the insurance universe.
“As we head through the next decade, advances in technology will strengthen the capabilities of insurance providers to hone the vantage point needed to successfully assess risk and underwriting viability. AI is set to take a step up in its abilities here, and will play an important role in getting product positioning and pricing right. In this fast changing market where price alone can no longer be a sole differentiator, you need to make new models commercially viable – and fast. The demand for skilled insurance data scientists will grow and it will be a bumpy ride for insurance providers with less sophisticated access to insights.”
The market could well become much more fragmented, as data – especially layered data from different sources – allows insureres and brokers the chance to truly understand risk at an almost personal level. That means no more pricing by postcode, it won’t be that simple. Paul adds;
“An ability to scale new products and be ultra-targeted in market positioning will be crucial – and those who continue to treat the market like a homogeneous mass will struggle to respond to new consumer trends. There will be hurdles for traditional insurers, who need to adapt quickly. It’s very hard to do from scratch though, so likely the sector will see a flurry of M&A activity as a key ingredient of strategies to accelerate tech capabilities for the future.”
DIGITAL EXPERIENCE WILL BE PARAMOUNT
Oliver Werneyer, CEO of Imburse offers these insights;
“The insurance industry has been subject to a remarkable transformation in the past few years, driven by the global adoption of tech-driven and customer-centred approaches. Changes in customer demand and the increased competitiveness of the industry will fuel large transformations in how insurers are built and how they are expected to deliver. Two of the key trends for 2030 are:
Digitalisation and better customer experience
In 2030, we should see fully digital journeys for both direct purchasing as well as for intermediated sales, with proprietary tools and access granted to intermediaries supporting a client during a sale. All the insurance lines of businesses will be available through digital channels and third-party ecosystems. Marketplaces for direct price comparisons will likely disappear as services, as the value of goods and services is seeing a clear shift to experience and not price.
Efficiency of operations
The insurance industry is under pressure to produce better operating efficiency, reduce costs, get faster at deploying capabilities and move to newer technology stacks, to support better customer experiences. As innovation speeds up, insurers must also accelerate the adoption of risk reduction and compliance topics in order to quickly adapt to changes in regulation. In 2030, we expect the insurers to run a hybrid of public and private cloud computing to optimise cost and risk trade-offs. Offerings and products will be “third-party friendly first”, meaning that any company can embed the product and journey, and build its own customer interfaces off the same available technology. This will allow them to streamline the services they build and control, which they outsource and embed externally.
A long and difficult road lies ahead for insurers to deliver on this, especially existing insurers that cannot build from scratch but need to adapt. The best way to do it is to be very clear on what are considered core competencies (for monetisation and control), and which competencies can be delivered by partners, like Imburse, as their payment integration partner.”
WILL UNDERWRITING EXIST AS A JOB?
In a report back in March, McKinsey speculated that underwriting wouldn’t exist by 2030, as the risk in any given situation could be calculated by AI in secords, at the point of quote.
There is some truth in that view because we already have multi-point data from companies like say LexisNexis, which can tell insurers a great deal about a vehicle’s history, plus give a detailed insight into the proposer’s journey online. That data sandwich can offer plenty of insights; mileage, service history, recalls, ADAS systems used, owner cancellation on policies within 30 days, points declared, job, location and much more.
But the future isn’t fixed, it’s fluid and will inevitably offer new opportunities. Even McKinsey’s report sketches out a scenario where a self-driving car collides with street furniture. So even though the software itself will say an accident is impossible, these things will still happen and when they do, the AI underwriting won’t really understand how to calculate future risk based on those few `one-off’ events.
Then there’s the widening gap between the wealthy and the other 90% of the world’s population. IE sees that gap becoming deeper and that means the super-rich will need specialised advice on asset management and risk. So yes, underwriters will be needed. Not every millionaire is comfortable telling a chatbot all about their poroperty empire and classic car collection value in great detail.
IE magazine sees huge opportunities in 2030 in these areas;
Tenant management/social housing
Insurers can both own and manage large buildings and village style communities, include healthcare and content cover in the rent, monitor behaviour using sensors, cameras, noise meters etc.
Low carbon, low cost because the web drives down wages, and local, delivery will see white vans and private cars phased out and bicycle/quad style solo vehicles replace them. No emissions, cheap labour, it’s a win-win for politicians and big online retailers alike.
Large battery powered vehicles cannot overcome the laws of physics, so hydrogen will probably replace EVs in the world of motorway deliveries, public transport and construction work. JCB are already well advanced with hydrogen diggers by the way.
In the UK public healthcare will be strictly rationed by 2030, which offers immense opportunities to healthcare insurers. Those with money, or employers who need a healthy workforce, will pay for rapid diagnosis and top level treatment. Expect a range of retailers to have their own supermarket based, or High Street GP/dental surgeries, clinics and scanning centres open and available on a PAYG/Netflix subs model by 2030.
As politicians will have made digital ID law long before 2030, the problems of having your ID cancelled or stolen/hacked will be understood by then. Specialist insurers, with the best IT talent, will be able to offer real-time protection to those with a high net worth ID. Your digital passport will be the gateway to valuable assets ownership or sale, reputational damage, company funds or data, currency transfer within seconds etc.
By partnering closely with activists and politicians insurers can identify which climate agenda projects are likely to be in favour by 2030 and which are about to have the plug pulled – sometimes literally. Not everything can succeed and fads like e-scooters will probably fall by the wayside. But there will be hundreds of opportunities for insurers and MGAs to insure the expensive infrastructure of a greener utopia.
Hope you enjoyed our predictions, see you in nine years.