The unprecedented rise of tech companies influencing the insurance market, as well as the increasing investment by traditional insurers in new advanced technologies, is expected to lead to better deals for customers in the coming years, according to one expert.
InsurTechNZ chair Jason Roberts believes customer expectations for instant digital transactions are increasingly the norm and are now a major factor driving the growth of the New Zealand insurtech market.
“The insurance sector is also testing new technologies to better assess or manage their risks,” Roberts said. “Even some of the simplest processes, once digitalised, provide huge upside for both customers and insurers.”
These include early testing of drones by insurance companies for damage assessment, which Roberts expects to soon lead to “faster claim processing” after mass damage events like earthquake and floods.
As an example, he also mentioned NZ insurtech startup Fireform, which has created a platform for managing shutdown periods helping large corporations manage their fire safety, as well as insurance firms in calculating and reducing risk.
“Most people won’t be aware that they may already be engaging with artificial intelligence (AI) via a chatbot or automated intelligent customer service system when purchasing insurance or making a claim as insurtech firms quickly deploy AI,” Roberts noted. “One of the fastest growing global insurance firms, Lemonade, has replaced brokers and bureaucracy with bots and machine learning, enabling a zero paperwork and instant everything experience.
“This rapid change is bringing both opportunity and challenge as the industry and government grapple with the implications of robo-advice and an almost unlimited array of insurance possibilities,” he added.
However, Roberts said, Kiwi consumers will only gain the benefits of insurtech if New Zealand adapts to systems fast enough.
New Zealand fintech and insurtech markets will get together on November 29 in Auckland to investigate the most advanced innovations across the financial and insurance sectors.