Digital insurers: The new tech giants of 2020?

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“Not Google nor Facebook: Most valuable company will be an insurance company.”

With a headline like that, how could you resist not reading the article?

Its author, Julian Teicke, makes the case for insurers ultimately becoming dominant players in the digital world. That’s because data will define value in the emerging online consumer market, and trust will be the currency by which that data is traded. “This will increase awareness about data and the willingness to share this information with companies like Facebook or Google will drop as a result. Neutral platforms will be in demand.”

Teicke is in a position to know – he is founder and CEO of wefox, an online insurance management platform that facilitates communication between insurance brokers, insurance companies, and customers.

Insurers can position themselves as the ideal neutral platforms Teicke is talking about. “When insurers gain the trust of their customers, they will be informed about the most important risk categories of their customers in the future. They can become an important life companion,” he states.

How will insurance companies surpass the tech giants – the Apples, Googles, Microsofts, Amazons, and Facebooks of the world? We’ve seen the digital revolution bring these companies to the fore, but in the next coming revolution, data will flow from billions of connected devices across the world. Instesd of being collected and captured by a few mega social media providers, such data may be moved to what Teicke calls “an independent, global data intermediary – a sort of ‘UN for data.’”

Insurance companies can leverage all this data to better serve customers in varied situations of their lives. Such data comes on a real-time basis from sensors both on and around consumers – covering relevant risk categories such as genetics/health, behavior and assets – delivered in real-time. Essentially, Teicke suggests, insurance companies can help people stay informed on risks to lives and property, evolving insurance “into a sort of life-coaching for the consumer. In the future, decisions for people will no longer be affected by gut feeling or experience, but based on the actual risk of the said decision.”

Is Facebook or Twitter capable of delivering objective insights on consumers’ life and financial decisions? Likely not – insurers have the risk algorithms and models that can help make these decisions, Teicke says. “In this new world, insurance will become one of the most relevant areas of our daily life – more relevant than Facebook, music and entertainment, messaging and gaming.”

The idea of insurers overtaking the tech giants as online service providers may be an industry pipe dream. But it’s realistic to see the growing role the industry will play as a trusted advisers to many aspects of policyholders’ decisions. The Facebooks of the world are simply not equipped to operate on this same level.

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