Emerging technologies seem to be taking the world by storm. The Internet of Things, drones, autonomous vehicles, wearables, and a range of other new technologies are in the news and poised to transform various industries as well as our daily lives.
Canadian insurers are investigating opportunities and developing strategies for new technologies, with an eye to ramping up over the next few years. However, those who are taking a wait-and-see approach would do well to consider some active participation as the pace is quick.
A recent SMA survey conducted in partnership with Insurance-Canada.ca, Inc. assessed the implications for the insurance industry, looking at insurer plans and perceptions for each technology. The findings show that Canadian insurers are primarily in the investigation and strategy development stages, with initial investments and pilots underway and plans to ramp up activity over the next three years (thru 2020).
The top two emerging technologies, by far, that Canadian insurers are focused on are the IoT and drones. About two-thirds of insurers responding to the survey are currently developing strategies in these areas and a number of pilots are underway, although few live implementations have seen the light of day. A second group of emerging technologies is garnering interest, including blockchain, AI, driverless vehicles, wearables, and new payment technologies.
The activity levels and investments today indicate that insurers are just in the early stages of leveraging emerging tech to provide new options for customers and improve operational efficiencies. But all would be advised to “watch this space” because many see significant potential for transformation, and plans for change are taking on momentum.
Insurers are responding in in a variety of ways to position for the future digital, connected world that will be enabled by these emerging technologies. But insurers would be wise to do more than just “watch this space.” They must be actively involved in shaping the future of the industry.
For more information on the survey findings and specific technologies, I am moderating a panel discussion at the 2017 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference, 28 February 2017. More information can be found here.
Editor’s note: Mark Breading, SMA Partner, is a recognized expert in advanced technologies and their implications for the insurance industry. He is a recognized leader in InsurTech, emerging technologies, digital strategies, and the customer experience in insurance. Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.614.562.8310. Follow Mark at @BreadingSMA on Twitter.