Insights on insurance future from the crowd.

May 13, 2024
4 mins read




Crowdsourced Insights on the Future of Insurance

TLDR:

  • Insurance technology in the past did not meet the actual needs of insurers
  • INSTANDA’s global report re-imagined the digital insurance landscape by crowdsourcing insights

Good lawyers know you should never ask a question to which you do not know the answer. Why? Because attorneys do not want anyone straying from the narrative. Every answer sought or given needs to reinforce the story that supports the lawyer’s theory of the case. For most of the 1990s and 2000s, insurance technology followed the lead of good lawyers. Every carrier and MGA needed to upgrade their technology. The evidence offered to support the vendor’s products as vital to the cause included glossy marketing materials, case studies, customer data points and deep insights from the vendor’s senior leadership. This evidence supported the idea that the vendor’s solution was the only viable solution. All was right with the world. But it wasn’t. Not really. We had the technology and the innovation tools we needed as an industry, but none of it met the actual needs of insurers. This reality created a generation of insurance organizations cobbling together various technologies and workarounds that rarely worked well. When these approaches did work, they offered little in terms of scalability and future use. Earlier this year, INSTANDA released a global report that put control of the narrative in the hands of those who know best: industry professionals. Re-imagining the Digital Insurance Landscape: 10 Years from Now, asked questions to which we did not know the answers. We crowdsourced insights and observations from veterans of the old Frankenstein insurance technology landscape, innovators and startups navigating a vastly changed insurance landscape and business and technology leaders planning the solutions to tomorrow’s challenges. What they shared in this wide-ranging report is best summarized as addressing the following:

Key Elements:

  • Customer Experience
  • Technology
  • Evolution

What this report found was a surprisingly coherent and relatively consistent narrative. On the customer experience front, 46% of U.S. respondents and 33% of UK respondents surveyed reported feeling positive toward insurance. They feel the service isn’t great, it is not personalized and, as a result, brand loyalty is virtually nonexistent. Yes, insurance is essential for peace of mind, as well as business and personal safety. But that is how insurance consumers see it, as a requirement. The good news is there is an opportunity for insurers to improve the way they provide their services to their customers while also growing revenue and increasing underwriting margins, all of which flows from improving customer service. That opportunity for improvement, according to the report, is to further evolve insurance into as frictionless a concept as possible. Given the current and long-established perceptions of the industry among consumers, tomorrow’s insurance products need to be easy. Consumers don’t want to have to spend time exploring options and understanding the details on a purchase they feel they are forced to make. One clear pathway to this future state is continued development and use of embedded insurance, which speaks to an increasingly time-starved culture looking to save time and find convenience. Embedded insurance meets customers where they are, such as purchasing electronics like televisions, smartphones and even Tesla vehicles, by providing needed protections at the push of a button. Among the top identified frustrations by consumers with the insurance process, according to the report’s findings, included 26% of consumers saying they have difficulty understanding insurance policies and their language. Another 25% felt the industry is not transparent where premiums and fees are concerned. A further 23% reported feeling frustrated with the time required to complete their insurance forms.

Technology:

Interestingly, despite the hype around artificial intelligence (AI), there is broad agreement that while valuable, AI is not the game changer – at least in the near-term – it might appear to be. There is certainly room for AI to grow, but the consensus is the “changing business forever” feel AI offers now won’t materialize for several more years. The future of AI, and its impact, will be decided by those progressive insurance organizations that are most agile in changing their processes and embracing business change. Another interesting finding among industry leaders who participated in the research is that the “problem” of technology will be solved, in part, by people. Part of the talent crisis facing insurance is the fact that the industry needs skilled professionals who can understand, develop and maintain AI models and other related technologies. The pace of technology continues to accelerate exponentially. As such, all industries — including insurance — will need skilled expertise to help guide that technology toward the solutions the industry and its customers require.

Evolution:

Factors that will continue to play a role in how the insurance industry develops into the future include concerns involving privacy, accuracy and the evolution of the insurance ecosystem. AI, of course, is playing an increasingly outsized role in issues of privacy and accuracy. With increased use and testing of AI , combined with human oversight, this technology shows real promise. To bolster confidence in both the technology and the results it provides, insurance organizations will need to show the work. Consumers will need to understand where and how AI is used and what quality controls are in place. As an industry, we will need to move both quickly and carefully, placing the highest value on accuracy and consumer protections. Some key steps to help best ensure data privacy and accuracy include:

  • Put in place checks and measures to stop AI from introducing biases
  • Regularly monitor AI to prevent hallucinations or false outputs
  • Bolster defenses against cyber-attacks and malicious actors

The future of the insurance ecosystem also requires a deft touch. Contributors to the report all noted countless legacy systems are still in operation following deep investments over the years in time, money and intellectual capital. Pushing these existing ecosystems aside is both risky and expensive to an industry that is risk averse. Instead, as the survey respondents and experts we interviewed agreed, a middle layer solution is required. This approach allows for parallel operation of the existing ecosystem as insurers look for open architecture solutions that provide speed to market, adaptability and offer a user-friendly approach that makes the best use of their existing workforce. Doing so, according to Finsure’s Michelle Bothe, “Enables insurers to configure products with minimal upstream and downstream integrations, which is key for successful rollouts.” It also makes best possible use of legacy systems by finding ways to bridge the divide of old and new, without spending years deconstructing and rebuilding an insurer’s ecosystem.


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