Dublin, 16th September, 2015: Irish insurers should make better use of disruptive technologies like data analytics and mobile apps to remain relevant in the digital age, according to management and technology consultancy, BearingPoint Ireland.
"New technologies, particularly those that utilise the emerging field of big data analytics and the "Internet of Things", are really shaking up the way businesses in general, not just insurers, operate and connect with customers,” said Martin McKenna, Partner in Charge of Financial Services at BearingPoint Ireland.
"Though the Irish insurance industry has yet to fully adapt and reap the huge opportunities data analytics can bring, international insurers are offering real-time constant, changing insight for customer-centric insurance policies. For example, a German insurer has teamed up with a start-up to produce shoe insoles that measure foot temperature to prevent ‘diabetic foot’ – a condition which results in 40,000 amputations a year in Germany alone. These responsive insoles, by detecting a sudden drop in temperature, can trigger pre-emptive actions and help reduce the chance of such severe complications."
Such technologies are already available in Ireland, with many indigenous companies designing and producing the necessary devices and sensors.
Mr McKenna also pointed to the use of safe driving apps that track braking, acceleration and distance travelled, and reward good driving behaviour as another example of disruptive technologies of benefit to insurers and their customers. They highlight how digital technology and smartphones can enable a more dynamic insurer-customer relationship than what is currently on offer.
“BearingPoint has direct experience of how technology can be used to promote more efficient and safer driving through its award-winning work with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), developing the company’s newly launched ‘connected cars’. JLR’s in-car technology can facilitate user-based insurance enabling consumers to pay depending on how, when and where they drive and also allowing for customers to be rewarded with reduced premiums for safer driving,” added Mr McKenna.
A strong opportunity for first mover advantage amongst Irish insurers exists, given our tech savvy population, particularly amongst younger consumers: over 96% of Irish 15-35 year olds own a smartphone and 42% have over 20 apps on their smartphone*. The rise of wearable technologies, like the Apple Watch and Fitbit, will only provide further opportunities for data analysis.
"Obviously, insurers need to maintain their human element in dealing with customers. In fact, the majority of people who get quotes online still seal the deal over the phone.
"But what’s important is that insurers incorporate customer-first policy features that appeal to tech savvy, increasingly mobile customers by giving greater control to them via integration with existing consumer technologies,” said Mr McKenna.
BearingPoint Ireland’s comments come following the publication of a new report by the company’s global research wing, the BearingPoint Institute, titled ‘Omnichannel insurance: are insurers losing touch in the digital age?’, which outlines the benefits of disruptive technologies for insurers, and highlights the successes of those who have adapted them. To read this article and more information visit: Omnichannel insurance: are insurers losing touch in the digital age?
* Irish Mobile Youth Report 2014, Thinkhouse
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