There has been a lot of discussion lately in the media and between agents about insurance technology and how big changes are coming to the insurance industry. Recently we have been focusing on insurance technology start-ups, their growth, and how they are affecting the current landscape. But what should agents, brokers and companies do about it?
Adopt technological innovations, of course.
Embracing technology will help agents, companies, and brokers to meet rising policyholder needs and expectations. There is a specific need for innovation in companies' IT infrastructure to improve the collection, storage, and use of data. Read on for specific technology that can be adopted by insurance professionals ready to compete with insurance technology companies hoping to disrupt the industry.
Companies are investing in technology not only to exploit the data available about consumers, but also to take advantage of things like telematics. Telematics allows insurance companies to rate customers and what their premium should be. Another example of telematics is notifying customers when they need to change/rotate their tires, and change their oil. Telematics also aids in real time transmission of information to an insurance provider when accidents happen. This benefits the policyholder because an ambulance could be dispatched faster, tow trucks come sooner, and the first step in the loss process can be completed sooner. Hubio is an example of a telematics company that works specifically with insurance professions to provide these services.
Internet of Things
IoT is a popular technology that many insurance providers are adopting. For those unfamiliar with IoT, it stands for the Internet of Things, which is a network of physical objects such as; devices, cars, buildings, and other tangible items that are embedded with electronics like software, sensors, and network connection, that allows objects to exchange and collect information and data. This technology is important to insurers for a few reasons. If you can transmit data to the insurer in real time, it helps to prevent damage (which lowers the costs of the company), and also helps to keep the policyholder safer. For example, if a fridge has a leak, it will notify the insurer, who will notify the policyholder with information about the problem and solutions. Another example is if a smoke detector battery is low, insurers can notify policyholders. IoT also helps policyholders protect their assets better, and builds a relationship with their providers. Today’s consumers are looking for value-added services that makes them believe that a provider cares about them. IBM's Watson has an IoT platform that offers a free trial.
Drones are becoming increasingly valuable to insurance. Drones can often-times reach secluded or rural areas faster than traditional dispatchers or disaster responders. Drones can transmit data back to the company more easily than surveyors or brokers, and can help aid in policy pricing, issuance, exclusions, hazards and coverage. Airware is a company that specializes in drones for commercial application. Check out this video for more information.
Automating Regulatory Compliance
This is especially important for health insurance regulations, which experienced a major change with the implementation of Obamacare. By creating automation, insurance providers can instantaneously access new information about policy and regulation changes, to make sure that they following these compliances consistently throughout the company. It also allows them to turn over information faster to regulatory agencies. Automation also enhances accountability for actions, by allowing the company to track who performed what tasks and how they were done.
Another important technology to consider when enhancing customer experience is the use of social media, and syncing all your platforms to create a seamless experience for consumers. This will be critical in the years to come as consumer expectations and connections rise. Social media can help promote brand awareness and engage consumers. Investing in the infrastructure to handle these platforms and channels is the first step for providers looking to create a sustainable competitive advantage.
All of the technologies listed in this article help providers to better target their insurance products for consumers through the use of analytics. These technologies allow insurers to collect data that they can use when considering past interactions to recommend additional products and services to consumers. The technologies listed above also give providers a way to collect, process, and use their data effectively. In the long-term, this process will be extremely important to the success and sustainability of agents.