Long-time readers of the Insurance Tech Insider have heard me ramble and rant against such institutions as Thanksgiving, office holiday parties and overzealous Halloween decorators. So, they’re probably expecting me to rip into the holiday season because…GET OFF MY LAWN.
Well, I’m not going to do that. Why? Because I LIKE the holidays.
[Editor’s note: WHAT?! When did you start liking things? I don’t even know you any more.]
The fact is, I totally subscribe to all of that, “The holidays are a magical time of year,” garbage. There really is something amazing about the way people feel, act and treat each other when the calendar rolls over to December.
People become more giving, more charitable and – surprisingly – friendlier. Lights get hung up everywhere, and the occasional dusting of snow makes everything look like a beautiful Bob Ross painting. And all the best foods and drinks abound. Seriously…cookies, eggnog, yummy stouts…you can’t be mad at anything except your waistline when ingesting holiday chow and libations. And then there’s Christmas music…which you can’t help singing along to regardless of your religious affiliation because it’s just so darned CATCHY.
So, yeah, I dig the holiday season. But if there’s one thing I love the most about the holidays, it’s giving presents. I may be in the minority here, but while getting things from people is cool, there is no better feeling than giving them something they’ll truly love and cherish.
So, this week’s Insurance News Roundup is my holiday gift to you, my loyal readers. Rudolph with that nose so bright…let’s look at some insurance news tonight!
Networked Insights bought by American Family Insurance
American Family Insurance is one of those companies that we’ve talked about frequently on the Insurance Tech Insider, and for good reason. The company has been acquiring insurtech companies and startups to help them build out what appears to be a very exciting set of technology-driven capabilities.
The most recent of these acquisitions is Networked Insights, a Big Data and data analytics solution provider.
Big Data is one of those technology trends that can pay dividends across many industries, but has incredible potential in insurance, in particular. By analyzing accurate, up-to-date data, insurers can make better risk assessments and, subsequently, better decisions when it comes to underwriting and pricing policies. Analyzing data can also help insurance companies become more proactive – working to help policy holder identify issues before they arise and lead to claims.
“These investments are part of our commitment to innovation through the use of data analytics and artificial intelligence for our customers and in ways that complement and improve the personal service we deliver to them,” said Peter Gunder, American Family Insurance chief business development officer. “The analytics capabilities we gain with Networked Insights will strengthen our ability to provide proactive protection to customers and to quickly identify and meet customer needs in new ways.”
Prior to the addition of Networked Insights, the company purchased another company called HomeGauge, a leading home inspection software provider. The company claims that – much like the Networked Insights acquisition – the acquisition of HomeGauge will enable them to more proactively protect consumers through data.
Insurtech: Driving innovation in the insurance industry
Felim O’Donnell is a fintech veteran that is now applying his skills to the insurtech space as the Operations Director at Liberty IT.
In this recent article on SiliconRepublic, Felim discusses his work with fintech, and how new technologies began to shape and evolve the financial services space. He then pivots to the insurtech industry, and illustrates many of the parallels between the markets, and the role that technology is playing in shaping how companies interact with and engage customers across both financial services and insurance.
This is a really interesting read form someone on the front lines – experiencing the evolution of the insurance industry thanks to technology, and innovating the very solutions driving change in the marketplace.
Amazon and insurance in the US: What’s in store?
“Alexa, find me a car insurance policy…”
According to this article, there’s some bad news for insurance companies. That request may not be too far fetched. It also may be right around the corner.
Amazon has been snatching up insurance professionals in Europe in hopes of creating some disruption in that continent’s insurance market. And they may not be too far from bringing those same offerings across the pond to America.
It’s not entirely clear, base don this article, if Amazon would be selling it’s own insurance products or simply acting as a reseller for other company’s policies, but – either way – it could be a cause for concern for insurers.
Amazon is a trusted marketplace for many Americans, and has revolutionized the way people shop and interact with technology thanks to the Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot, which can simply be told to order and purchase products. This could become the new, preferred way in which Americans purchase their policies.
Should Amazon offer its own insurance products, it would certainly give them a leg up on their competition, thanks to their massive size and established position in American homes. Should they be a marketplace for insurance companies, it could lead to customers having less interaction with insurers – relegating insurers to a back-room role as a risk-carrier.
Regardless, the addition of insurance coverage to Amazon could be coming…and it could have huge ramifications for the industry.