What does virtual reality mean for the insurance industry?

What does virtual reality mean for the insurance industry? | Insurance Business

What does virtual reality mean for the insurance industry?
Technology is a double-edged sword that could make or break the insurance industry.

Often, tech is seen as a disruptor within the insurance industry. Digital innovation is viewed by some insurance professionals with a wary eye, as they believe artificial intelligence (AI) could be used to displace human potential.

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But tech and AI can provide fantastic opportunities for the insurance industry – and they could certainly open up new lines of business or the need for innovative insurance products in the near future.

Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media and former director of market development at Facebook, was the keynote speaker at the 2017 Wholesale Specialty Insurance Association conference in San Diego. She got a captivated audience to consider future potential in the tech realm.

“I have been thinking about the incredible opportunities that innovative tech like virtual reality (VR) is going to bring to all of our businesses [including the insurance industry],” said Zuckerberg. “When I think about real estate, VR could transform a baron piece of land into a completely finished building. In medicine, VR could help cure phobias and help surgeons around the world perform complicated surgeries they were never able to perform before. The opportunities with VR are amazing.

“But we are also going to have a lot of things that are really challenging. Are we going to be treating high school students for PTSD because they’re in immersive war or violent video games? Are we going to have to insure people in virtual reality settings? Who is going to cover that? Who is responsible?”

Another development that’s potentially just around the corner is the business of insuring people’s faces alongside a rise in facial recognition technology. The Apple iPhone X was announced on Tuesday (September 12). The latest edition contains facial recognition technology (FaceID) as a replacement for the old TouchID system.

A KFC restaurant in China is using facial recognition technology to serve customers. The ‘smile to pay’ system developed by Alibaba’s Ant Financial allows customers to buy fast food with a smile, via the Alipay app.

“The announcement of the new iPhone made me think about facial recognition,” Zuckerberg told the audience. “Are we entering an era where normal people are going to want to start insuring their faces? People can now pay for things with their faces. How important are faces going to be in the future?”

That’s just a couple of questions to whet the appetite of technophiles and innovative thinkers. As Zuckerberg said, tech brings both “incredible opportunity and interesting challenges.”

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