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Insurance gets a digi-makeover

Do you remember back in the 70s when insurance was sold by doorstep salesmen working on commission?  And policy payments were collected fortnightly – in cash? I do. My mum kept a tin of spare change and a little notebook and pencil to keep a record of what she’d paid.

How times have changed. Digitisation is taking over the insurance sector faster than streaming replaced Betamax.

It’s no secret that outdated tech and slow new tech adoption have lingered in the insurance industry. But even the most risk-averse and traditional insurers are under pressure to reassess their business models and take the leap into digital transformation.

Tech takes over tradition

A recent global survey found that 99% of insurance organisations plan to update their technology systems this year including their broker and MGA platforms and claims, renewals and policy administration systems. Some are even introducing drones into their risk assessment armoury.

This transformation is being accelerated by the impending requirements Consumer Duty compliance requirements and Lloyd’s Blueprint 2.0. This digital strategy aims to deliver better, faster, and cheaper solutions to help all insurance participants navigate the complex and fast changing risk landscape.

Your AI claims adviser will be with you shortly

When it comes to customer experiences and claims handling, the bar continues to be set high. From paperless, peopleless claims filed online to payouts and policies issued in minutes.

The switched-on customer of 2024 wants speedy, seamless, streamlined and stress-free processes. They also demand user-friendly portals, on-the-go apps and access to 24/7 support – delivered how the customers need it. Whether that be with a ‘real’ person, a chatbot or a website with accessibility adjustments.

Claims departments are often the butt of insurance customer complaints. It can be the only time a customer interacts with their broker or insurance provider. Insurers that don’t embrace technology to refine and speed up their claims process may risk losing even their most loyal customers.

In 2023, Lemonade shook up the insurance industry by settling a claim in a record-breaking two seconds. Although that’s not a realistic benchmark for claims handling best practice, it demonstrates what can be done with the wonder of AI.

AI take-over

Last year, ChatGPT was the fastest-growing consumer software application in history. It now has over 100 million users prompting the launch of several competing products as businesses reaped the rewards of what AI could do – and learned from what it couldn’t.

These products will continue to influence how the insurance sector operates and will utilise their capabilities for underwriting, claims handling, and new product development.

A SaaSy business

Legacy insurance solutions were designed to be off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all but now thanks to the trajectory of SaaS software, bespoke solutions that suit the needs of very specific cohorts and niche businesses are becoming more mainstream.

Companies that gather and interrogate data to produce risk assessments and actionable evidence are growing in number. Emerging technology plays a big part in delivering these insights to insurers, brokers and MGAs. Geospatial images and drone footage can prove to be invaluable in many high-risk, high-profile claims cases.

So, whether you love, loathe or tolerate tech, it is here for the long-haul, so best keep up.

April 2024