The Future of Insurance Conference took place in Las Vegas in late 2017. Participants discussed how technology is already changing the insurance industry and shared their ideas for transforming it even further through technology. They talked about disrupting every link in the insurance value chain, digging deep to extract costs, improving the customer experience, maximizing transparency, simplifying all processes, lessening friction, empowering and delighting customers, minimizing moral hazard and fraud, employing big data, and even making the claims process pleasurable. Some key takeaways were:
1. Duperreault’s Dream. Insurance Hall-of-Famer Brian Duperreault, CEO of Hamilton Insurance Group, said the whole point of his coming out of retirement to head Hamilton was to do to insurance what Two Sigma has successfully done to hedge funds, using artificial intelligence, machine learning and other advancements. He said the current insurance industry is “grossly over-expensed” and marred by inefficiencies and inadequate use of data. Thus Hamilton is dedicated to using science and data to transform insurance and bypass some of the industry’s legacy systems, costs and even relationships. “The natural clinging to what you have inhibits real change,” he said. Last month, Hamilton announced that in the fourth quarter it will launch a digital platform for small-to-medium insurance called Attune. Hamilton’s partners in the venture are Two Sigma and AIG. Duperreault was asked if there is one technology, invention or science application he would love to see introduced to the insurance world, one for which he would “write a check.” Looking around the cavernous convention hall, he thought of one. He said he’d be willing to invest in a program that would move beyond traditional building inspections to give him a constant diagnostic of a building like the convention center including its structure, health, security, traffic and other variables. A tool like this would change an underwriter’s view of a risk, he said.
2. Trust in change. Agents can’t be afraid to change and if they are to succeed they must embrace technology. Panelists said it is agents’ responsibility to find and use technology and also data that helps them add value and makes them look smart, even when carriers and their legacy systems get in the way. “Agents are entrepreneurs. They must understand what they can do and what technology can do for them,” said Moshe Tamir, global head of digital transformation for Generali. Several experts noted that data can be used to simplify the process for customers and to better understand what is happening between agent and customer. Joey Giangola, representing the Grow program that helps agents build online brands, said agents and brokers who prosper will be those who find ways to put trust-building first, ahead of price. Building trust first builds customers who do not even question the price, he said.
3. Data commercial. It’s no secret that commercial auto has been a loser for insurers for years. Experts suggested that telematics technology could be the key to returning the line to profitability. Commercial auto insurers can learn from the experience of personal auto insurers that use telematics. Telematics data can reveal more than just how the vehicle is being driven; it can relay conditions, time of day, weather, geography, frequency of driving, patterns in following distance between vehicles, and much more. There is in fact more mileage data collected with trucks than on cars, according to Chris Carver of ATG Risk Solutions, however, one problem is that most of the data remains in closed systems, owned by the customer or proprietary to a single insurer. He argued for more transparency and sharing of the data to improve safety and underwriting. The challenge is how to incentivize trucking clients to share their data. Leo Heintz, Erie Insurance, said brokers can play a critical role. “The broker is the key to working with fleets to improve,” he said. Research suggests that consumers are willing to share their data if there is something in it for them.