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Insurers Must Use Tech To Mitigate Customer Risks: Study

Insurers are less ready for change than their customers, most of whom want more comprehensive and dynamic coverage.

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Insurance sector that remained quite a laggard when it comes to technology adoption, is struggling to keep up with changing customers demand. Several insurers have already started looking at digitization as a way to survive and compete. However, customers are looking at more comprehensive and personalized insurance products to address ‘coverage gap’ in existing policies and emerging risks – thereby compelling insurers to innovate and become agile. This is according to the findings of a new report by Capgemini and Efma that urges insurance companies to use cutting edge technologies in order to meet the demands of new age customers.

“Emerging risk trends and rising customer expectations are dramatically changing the landscape for insurance, and providers must be agile in how they respond,”said Anirban Bose, CEO of Financial Services at Capgemini and member of the Group Executive Board. “This research shows a coverage gap in areas of emerging risk, but also highlights an important opportunity for insurers. Those that can evolve their products through technology, collaborate with innovators, and think of themselves as partners and preventers to their customers, stand to benefit the most.”

The research brings to light some very interesting  observations that can be an eye opener for decision makers in the insurance industry.

Insurers have been slow to respond to emerging risks

The report identifies five macro trends that are creating emerging risks for insurance customers and their businesses: disruptive environmental patterns, technological advancements, evolving social and demographic trends, new medical and health concerns, and business environment changes. Yet most insurers have been slow to respond to these trends and equip customers for them. Under 25% of business customers across all geographies, and less than 15% of personal policyholders, feel they have sufficient coverage to insure against any one of the emerging risks driven by these macro trends. Fewer than 40% of life and health insurers said they have built a pipeline of new products to cover emerging risks comprehensively.

There is a significant coverage gap in emerging risk areas

The slow response to emerging threats has created significant coverage gaps for customers exposed to these risks. The report estimates that 83% of personal insurance customers have medium or high exposure to cyberattacks and to outliving their savings, yet just 3% and 5% respectively are comprehensively covered against these eventualities. Among business customers, 81% are exposed to escalating employee healthcare costs against which just 17% are well covered; 87% are at risk of cyberattacks with less than 18% comprehensively insured; and almost 75% are threatened by rising natural catastrophes, for which just 22% are effectively covered.

Consumers are more prepared for change than providers

As the insurance landscape shifts, customers are showing greater readiness for change than their insurance providers. Over half (55%) of customers said they are ready to explore new insurance models, but barely a quarter (26%) of insurers are investing in them. While 37% of customers said they are highly willing to share additional data in return for improved risk control and prevention services, only 27% of insurers have the capability to tap real-time data for risk modelling purposes.

Insurers need to innovate, and become partners and preventers

Insurers must respond to emerging threats, and changing customer expectations, by embracing new technology and partnerships. Risk assessment capabilities can be significantly enhanced through deployment of machine learning, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, and effective collaboration with InsurTech providers. Progress in these areas has been mixed: a majority (57%) have leveraged AI, machine learning and advanced analytics, but only 29% have implemented automated risk assessment, and just 20% real-time insight generation from IoT devices.

“This research shows that the future for insurance will be partnership-centric,” said Vincent Bastid, Secretary General of Efma. “Insurance providers need to collaborate with partners who offer high levels of expertise in areas from AI to advanced analytics. Simultaneously, they must partner more closely with their customers to provide the more responsive, demand-driven service many are seeking.”

According to the report, technological progress also needs to be matched by a shift in attitudes. Where insurers have traditionally seen themselves as a payer, they need to evolve into the parallel roles of partner and preventer, working more closely with customers to mitigate risks and provide on-demand services.

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