In order to support the accelerating changes in the global sharing economy and mobility sector, new forms of insurance, including programs to support gig-workers at scale, will need to be created, according to a new report published by Marsh, the world’s leading insurance broker and risk advisor.
The report, Mobility in a post-pandemic world: From evolution to revolution, analyzes the global trends shaping the way societies around the world will move, share — and trust — over the next 12-18 months.
According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping mobility patterns and the sharing economy around the world. From the surge in last-mile delivery to the first driverless delivery service to the gaining popularity of e-scooters, mobility habits will continue to evolve quickly over the next 18 months. But if insurance, which plays a key role in the trust dynamic, doesn’t evolve alongside these changes, progress could be hindered.
The report outlines several trends creating opportunities for this insurance evolution, including supporting gig-workers at scale. While the concepts of self-employment and independent contractors are not new, digital companies providing wheel-based services have accelerated access to this type of work and highlighted the deficiencies in a social safety net to support them should they be injured on the job and lose income. In the same way that digitized payments can lead to digitized risk, so too can digitized income lead to a form of distributed portable benefits supported through a combination of public programs and private industry, Marsh notes.
Opportunity also exists with advanced sensor technology that can track human driving behavior, the report says. A number of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are investing in their own early stage in-house insurance companies, capitalizing on a new crop of sensor-enabled electric vehicle models. With OEMs offering personal auto liability/motor insurance at the point of sale and rewarding insureds with safer driving behavior based on the data they collect, traditional insurers may find themselves “on a burning platform, with an acute need to evolve,” the report states.
The increased use of digital payments for various modes of transport, from e-scooters to public transportation to car share rides, also will also lead to the creation of innovative insurance solutions, according to the report. The use of data from individual digital journeys can not only drastically improve the claims management process, but also create an opportunity for real-time individualized on-demand insurance.
“It is remarkable how the pandemic has accelerated adoption of new mobility habits around the world,” said James Rose, Head of Marsh’s US Sharing Economy and Mobility Center of Excellence. “What hasn’t changed, however, is the need for society to trust that these modes of transport are safe. Insurance is essentially a ‘promise to pay’ and as such, plays an essential part in the trust dynamic that facilitates permission to operate and protects the platform and the user where responsibility for risks may not be clear. If insurance can keep pace and evolve with this accelerating mobility shift, it can empower growth and possibility in this sector for many years to come.”