As machine learning and artificial intelligence continue to grow rapidly, the world of insurance will evolve to suit the new digital landscape and the new generation of consumers, with a rise in products such as on-demand insurance and insurance of autonomous cars.
“What we are doing is transforming the business model to create a brand new definition of insurance,” said Kimberly Harris-Ferrante, VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner Research.
“The consumer of insurance is changing so we have to be more knowledgeable of consumer trends and demographical changes and behavioural changes occurring in the market,” she said. “All of these changes mean that insurance companies have to rethink who is their target market and how do they sell to them and service them differently,” she added.
The evolving consumer landscape means that competition for selling insurance products is ramping up, so we will increasingly see a wider range of companies starting to sell insurance, such as car manufacturers and real estate companies, Harris-Ferrante predicts.
“Insurance is an old, traditional industry that always hired from within, and hired people that think the same way,” said Harris-Ferrante.
Insurance companies need to think bigger than just gender and racial diversity. While the industry has traditionally sought people with insurance knowledge and experience, Harris-Ferrante believes we will see an increase in the number of people from different fields entering the industry, as the doors open to women with different skill-sets, and varied backgrounds and educations. People with backgrounds in a variety of fields such as marketing, retail, automotive and financial will be increasingly sought out by insurance companies to bring diversity of thinking to the table.
“More and more women are going into the analytics field,” said Harris-Ferrante. “Many insurance companies are struggling to find people who are up to speed with machine learning, AI and new data skills so there is a great opportunity for women pursuing those fields,” she said.
“If you take a leading insurance company that has progressive data and scientific programs, they don’t need a data scientist who knows insurance. They need a data scientist with a clean mind who doesn’t have pre-conceived ideas of what the data will tell us,” she added.
Being patient will be an asset for women in the insurance industry as the evolution will take time.
“It’s an exciting time for women in the industry,” said Harris Ferrante. Big changes are coming but it’s not going to happen overnight.”
Harris-Ferrante has spent 22 years at Gartner, where she is responsible for monitoring the business and technology trends within the property and casualty and life insurance industries.