A Glimpse Into the Future of Insurance

Along with its insurance partners, B-Hive made its way to Munich on November 15-16 for the third edition of the Digital Insurance Agenda. Held in the Eisenbach Movie Studios, the two-day conference featured 50+ handpicked insurtechs, including three B-Hive members, that demonstrated their tried and tested innovations in dynamic 10-minute show & tell sessions.  

We are very proud of our members who took the stage:

  • Recipient of the DIAmond Award 2017, Qover provides "Insurance as A Service" allowing any business to integrate proprietary insurance products from their library via open API's. 
  • Minalea provides commercial performance solutions and better customer care tools for insurance distribution physical networks, call centers, and websites.
  • Onegini enables insurance companies to turn Digital Transformation into Customer Engagement. Its award-winning Mobile Security Platform provides organizations with an easy way to deliver mobile apps, with the best end-user experience and high security for external users on any device.

The rapid growth of insurtechs in the last years is proof that customers are ready for a new insurance experience that is easy, accessible, personalized and digital. More than the prevalence of emerging technology, what is truly driving this massive transformation in the sector is the new generation of digital native customers. In short: Using new technologies to achieve cost efficiency is great, but strengthening customer engagement should be the real goal of digitalization.

Traditional insurance companies need to be more deliberate in putting digitalization at the heart of their operations and strategy to keep up with these changing customer demands. The key to developing the next-generation of insurance services is to create genuinely customer-centric solutions that are extremely personalized, optimized and fully-synchronized to enable a seamless multi-channel experience.

PWC identified five prominent insurance innovation trends in its 2017 Global Fintech Survey that are poised to change the future:

  1. Increased sophistication of data models and analytics to better identify and quantify risk
  2. Increased sophistication in methods to reach, engage and serve customers in a highly-targeted manner
  3. Rise of aggregators to compare products and services from different providers
  4. Consolidation of “as-a-service” solutions enabling outsourcing of core insurance functions
  5. Emergence of connected cars and autonomous vehicles impacting auto claim frequency and severity

Our visit to the Watson IoT Lab in Munich further reinforced these trends by demonstrating how IoT is poised to unlock new business models and new service offerings.

One tangible application is the use of sensors in manufacturing environments that can reinvent the way business continuity insurance is being handled to date. There will be a stronger focus towards predictive maintenance rather than preventive maintenance, therefore giving rise to insurance being offered on-demand.  This can drive a paradigm shift in the industry, from selling insurance to promoting assurance. 

The growing popularity of smart homes that rely on connected devices (i.e. to automatically start a homeowner's dishwashing cycles and manage their temperature and energy consumption) also opens up a timely discussion on where the risk transfer market is going. While this greater access to usage data on the back-end could reduce underlying risk and increase risk transparency, it could potentially shift the liability to manufacturers. Insurers could either work with manufacturers to embed their insurance offerings into the smart connected devices or else new entrants may one day compete against the insurers themselves. 

Another excellent use case is the BikeBlockchain project of the Dutch Road Transport Authority (RDW), which enables the swift processing of insurance claims without human intervention or paperwork. As all e-bikes registered in the blockchain are equipped with smart blocks, the blockchain basically informs the insurer whether the bike in question was actually locked at the time of theft. This way, the insurer can very easily establish whether the owner is insured for theft and can process the claim automatically. Not only does this demonstrate the high potential for emerging technology such as IoT and blockchain to optimize existing processes, it also highlights the need for insurers to explore new partnerships that can enable them to provide a much more seamless insurance experience.

Still, even if digitalization promises to provide tremendous benefits for the insurance industry, there are challenges that still need to be tackled to unlock its full potential. Privacy, cybersecurity and liability remain the biggest risks, and traditional insurance companies and insurtechs need to leverage on each other’s strengths to deliver innovation that is in line with the customers’ ever-changing needs. That’s the only way to win.

A huge thanks to IBM for demonstrating the potential of cognitive insurance with us and our partners! 

Interested in cognitive insurnace?