Are Uber and Airbnb beating insurers?

The online disruptors of the business world are leaving the insurance world behind, according to one expert

Are Uber and Airbnb beating insurers?

Insurance News

By Lucy Hook

In a data-driven world, companies like Airbnb and Uber have revolutionized their respective industries through customer data and analytics, despite not owning traditional revenue-generating assets.

These disruptors use data to provide a level of personalization that means they can outdo their competitors – something the insurance world is failing to do, according to one expert.

“Companies like Airbnb and Uber are doing an exceptional job of offering products that directly respond to the needs of their individual customers, and not the mass market,” Tony Cid, global head of commercial insurance at Intellect SEEC, told Insurance Business.

But despite the clear business benefits, insurers are failing to utilize technology, Cid argued.

Much of the industry is still heavily reliant on paper and manual processes, resulting in “costly redundancies and lengthy customer on-boarding periods,” Cid said, but some of the newer players are more up to speed.

“Some start-ups are leveraging new technologies to make advancements in select industry segments, particularly in the personal auto and home lines, but the majority of legacy players and lines of business remain stuck in the status quo,” he explained.

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With insureds willing to pay a higher premium for better service, according to Cid, insurers would benefit from investing in new ventures.

“This is where technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning can be a game changer. In a matter of seconds, these technologies can analyze mountains of data from various sources and enable carriers to make more informed decisions, in turn freeing up human capital to focus on higher-value tasks.”

And while there is fear within the broker community that technology may be a threat to jobs, Cid argued that the opposite is true.

“Technology can in fact empower agents and brokers to provide better counsel and serve as a trusted client partner,” he said. “It’s all about how they use it.”

“Like their carrier partners, agents and brokers still primarily rely on manual processes to search various sources for customer information. If effectively leveraged, agents and brokers can streamline this entire process through the use of technology.”

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