- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Which Next-Generation Technologies Hold Promise of Innovation for Insurers?

What’s a good way for insurers to jump-start the innovation gate into the land of customer experience?  The answer, according to recent SMA research¹, is utilization of five next-generation technologies.

We’re wondering if there is a direct line between technology and innovation, or if some insurers are getting a little seduced by technology.  We’d like your thoughts on this.

Cutting to the chase, here are the five technologies …

Based on SMA’s survey of 80 insurance organizations, the five technologies, starting from the most significant, are:

  1. Analytics and Big data.  SMA notes that these could allow better understanding of the customer, improved pricing and underwriting,  and product development potential.
  2. Mobile Technologies.  SMA notes that mobile has become ubiquitous and apps abound.
  3. Collaboration Technologies. Opportunities here range from real time interaction with brokers and customers, sharing of content, and ‘ideation’ and crowdsourcing.
  4. Cloud Computing. SMA notes that if insurers can get over concerns about privacy and loss of control over data, there are big opportunities for on-demand capacity.
  5. Telematics.  Usage based insurance is starting to get traction, and,  in spite of  cost and extended development time frames, offer opportunities to improve profitability and provide new customer touch points.

So, should this be a shopping list?

Are you ready to go out and buy some?  We know of some insurers who would like nothing better than shrink wrapped innovation.  SMA offers some important caveats.

The authors note that while insurers are seeing endless possibilities for innovation with these technologies, “Ultimately, insurers must do two fundamental things very well to gain competitive advantage from the five next-gen technologies discussed in this brief.”

The first is to identify the business application and value.  “Most of these technologies can be applied to hundreds of business use cases in insurance, but the challenge is to determine the best fit for the particular company, line of business, and business area.”

Second, the authors note, these technologies don’t exist in a vacuum.  In almost every situation, there has to be integration into existing systems and alignment with corporate strategies.

There’s a balance …

We think SMA has hit an important balance here.  There is no doubt that new technology is a sine qua non for most innovation these days, but it is not an end unto itself.  It is easy to get seduced by technology and find oneself with an elegant solution in search of a problem.

What do you think?

We’d like your thoughts on the balance of technology an business these days.


* (1.) SMA Research Brief, Next-Gen Technology Trends …New Opportunities and Challenges for Insurers