Technology to disrupt insurance in diverse ways

Published: June 16, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The concept of emerging technology influencing the insurance industry has been much discussed. Vincent J. Dowling, Jr., managing partner of Dowling & Partner Securities LLC, believes the industry will be profoundly disrupted by changing technology.

He delivered the prediction at Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC)’s Young Professionals’ Global Forum 2017 in London, U.K. on Wednesday.

“In your careers, personal and commercial auto (insurance) business will be gone,” Dowling told attendees, although he was talking about those industries will be changed beyond recognition. He added the personal auto insurance market in the United States is worth US$207 billion in net premiums (2016).

In a statement for MMC, Dowling says many lines will be disrupted by technology. “I have been following the property/casualty industry for 35 years,” Dowling told delegates. “And I would argue that there has been more change in the past five years than the previous 30 – and we are just at an inflexion point of that change.”

One of the most profound changes will be competing against clients or suppliers. Insurance companies have often competed against each other, but will soon have to contend with manufacturers who will want to cut out the insurance middle-man and offer coverage for their products themselves.

Dowling also points out that the insurance industry is falling behind in terms of online customer service. He cites a 2013 study by Morgan Stanley Research, which found insurance 14th in online customer care. This was third from last.