Auto insurers are getting more proactive in preventing car accidents with sensor devices, Big Data, telematics and social media, according to a new study.

PwC’s “Top Issues in Insurance,” study reported that innovation is enabling insurers to make better and smarter use of greater amounts of Big Data.

“If insurers use real-time granular data properly, it can help control their losses when it comes to accidents,” PwC’s Insurance Practice Principal Anand Rao told Insurance Networking News. “Sensors, for example, cost less than a dollar and easily attach in a car to prevent an accident or monitor what lead up to it.”

Overall, the report’s findings indicate that customer service is at the top of the list. “Insurers are focusing more on customers and making the customer experience better,” Rao said. “Retention is not as good as it used to be because of the economy. Before 2008, a customer wouldn’t switch insurers for less than $100. Today they’ll switch for less than $50 because every penny counts.”

Growing populations and expanding middle classes have increased the demand for insurance in emerging markets, such as India, China, Africa, South Africa, Turkey, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. “Insurers are looking to grow in these markets through joint partnerships and ventures with local carriers because it’s rare that insurers can have 100-percent ownership in some of these companies,” PwC's Actuarial and Insurance Management Solutions Group Partner Paul Delbridge told Insurance Networking News. “Emerging markets have local nuances that insurers have to be aware before venturing in.”

Insurers are making internal investments to meet regulatory demands and better manage risk, according to PwC’s study.

“There’s a rash of new regulation coming down the pipeline, which are a burden on insurance companies,” Delbridge said.

Looming rules include FACTA’s tax regulations, the Federal Reserve’s stress tests on large life insurance companies and the NAIC’s OWN Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) requirement as well as the Dodd-Frank legislation.

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