Over the next five years we can expect to see rapid maturation in the business application of “robotic” technology. A huge amount of innovation is happening in the converging fields of Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (or “cognitive computing”, as IBM prefers to call it), robotic process automation, and drones.
A look at some of Gartner’s predictions gives a sense of the scale of the transformation. By 2018, six billion connected things will be requesting support. By year-end 2018, digital customer assistants will recognise individuals by face and voice. By 2020, “smart agents” will facilitate 40 per cent of mobile interactions, and the “post-app era” will begin to dominate.
This “robo-revolution” presents numerous opportunities and challenges for the global insurance industry. Ninety foresees a shift towards “augmenting” human roles by providing staff with technology such as sensors, robotic process automation and drones that will enable work to be done more quickly, cost effectively, safely and accurately.
Foreword from Lord Wei of Shoreditch
We live in an era of anxiety about the rise of robots and other internet of things technologies. The reality will likely be somewhere between current popular visions of dystopian mass unemployment, and of more positive narratives of robots living in harmony and in service to humans as portrayed by the Jetsons.
A cyborg future in which robotic technologies work together with humans – when implemented properly and sensitively – will no doubt enable a better, more efficient service to be provided by businesses, freeing up workers to focus on interactions with customers that require empathy, creativity, and intuition, and which drive new kinds of sales, rather than on routine, dangerous, and more mundane tasks.
This report, in highlighting the potential for the Robo-Insurer, deftly walks the tightrope between alarmism and complacency. There is no doubt that the Fourth Industrial Age is upon us, and that we must adapt to survive, but how we do this will need to be carefully thought through – and implementation will be key. Much work will be required in the coming years to figure out the regulatory changes required, to integrate the relevant IT systems both front- and back-end, and to deal with the non-trivial privacy and data protection challenges that these technologies, from drones to AI-based assistants, will pose.
Perhaps the biggest task will be to enable and support customers in the transition, so they can see the increased benefits not only in terms of financial value, but in terms of convenience and their ability to interact with machines when necessary, and humans in a more holistic, analogue fashion where it augments their experience.
As a forward-looking social enterprise, Ninety seeks to address the social implications that will arise as more organisations adopt these technologies, which need not be separated from our core businesses activities. Robo-insurers who appropriate implement AI- and other tools in their business processes, will be able to harness their employees to help the communities around us to transition better, increasing trust in a businesses’ brand, and building greater loyalty among employees themselves.
And we will have a duty collectively to support the individuals and communities shut out by the robots’ algorithms, an approach which in many ways has been an integral part the ethos of the insurance industry for centuries, in partnership with government. As the Chair of Ninety’s Future Strategy Board, I’m excited about the possibilities and proud of our work with clients to help them thrive as more and more insurers embrace and adapt to the coming robotic age.
Welcome to the world of the Robo-Insurer!
Lord Wei of Shoreditch
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Insurers could reap substantial benefits
This white paper identifies benefits for insurers which will enhance the bottom line, including:
- reduced operational costs
- new products tailored to individuals
- opportunities to open up new services
- improved accuracy in risk assessment
- reduced fraud
- competitive advantage
The insurance industry needs to accelerate its competencies in these fast-maturing “robo” fields.
Adam Cranfield is a Principal at Ninety. As an influential member of the digital community at large, he is close to emerging and potentially disruptive digital technologies, and works with Ninety’s insurer partners and clients to help them understand and engage with these trends.
Dan White is Senior Partner for Insurance at Ninety. He is involved in the execution of Ninety’s Digital Disruption Foresight methodology, and leads innovation and strategy initiatives with Ninety’s insurer partners and clients.