Sensors, AI emerging as winners as insurers look for new innovations

Insurers are rolling out emerging technologies at an increasing rate, according to Novarica’s Emerging Technology in Insurance report.

Based on a survey of 104 members of the analyst firm’s CIO-heavy Research Council, once-fresh technologies like mobile and predictive analytics have moved clearly into the table-stakes category, with more than half of insurers with some sort of mobile capability and nearly that many leveraging predictive analytics.

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Now, technologies in the middle of the pack are fighting for dollars and prioritization. These include artificial intelligence, big data, drones, sensors and telematics, and robotic process automation, which each report between 15% and 25% deployment rates.

“The high level of current pilot activity, and the shift of some technologies from pilot to production, indicates that over the next few years, insurers will continue to apply these technologies to their business challenges in innovative ways,” writes report author and Novarica president Matt Josefowicz.

At the bottom end of the spectrum are chatbots, wearables, smarthome automation, augmented reality and blockchain. These “are technologies for which the business cases are still complex or hard to articulate,” Josefowicz adds.

But where the business case is easy to make, even lower-tier technologies are getting some attention. For example, 27% of insurers plan to pilot chatbots in 2019, more than any big data, sensor, or other artificial intelligence category, Novarica found.

Not all technologies are going to be easy to implement, Josefowicz writes. That means it’s crucial that insurers are intelligent and strategic in making investments and choices, starting with business needs.

“[This] can help insurers avoid technology-led business cases that result in a lack of business interest, failure to operationalize new capabilities, and no return on investment,” he explains.

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