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March 1, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 8:08am

How Google & Amazon could bring disruptive innovation to insurance companies

News: Does the industry need to assess the risk from tech players beating them at their own game?

By Alexander Sword

Digital giants are considered some of the biggest threats to the industry by traditional insurance providers due to their data and capacity for innovation.

Asked about their perception of new entrants to the insurance industry in the Capgemini World Insurance Report 2016, 40.8 percent cited Google as a threat.

Amazon was the third most cited, with 27.7 percent, behind product manufacturers offering their own insurance for their products.

Fintech and start-ups also featured high on the list, at 25.6 percent.

This tallied with the global figure of 23.4 percent of Generation Y customers (defined here as born between 1981 and 2000) that would be willing to purchase insurance from technology companies. 14 percent of customers of other generations would also buy insurance from tech companies.

In Europe, 14.1 percent of Gen Y customers and 8.8 percent of other generations would buy insurance from tech companies, withNorth America seeing figures of 25.2 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.

In Latin America, the Generation Y figure was 49 percent, while the figure for other groups was 38.6 percent. In developed Asia-Pacific the figures were 19.6 percent and 11 percent while for developing Asia-Pacific regions they were 47.2 percent and 36.2 percent.

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The report noted that tech companies had a range of advantages that would allow them to disrupt the industry, not least the lack of legacy systems.

One factor giving tech companies an advantage over traditional insurance companies was that of reputation and brand; due to more satisfactory interactions with technology and retail firms the customers valued their brands higher.

Google was described as having created a "one-stop shop" for customers’ needs.

Technology companies’ footholds in the Internet of Things (IoT) space was also cited as an a dvantage due to the possibility of collecting real-time data about the customer.

Michel Gicot, Head of Corporate Development at Die Mobiliar said that "Google is definitively a game changer based on their immense data and on their innovation cycles (aggregator & Google’s own value chain) and will force the industry to refine and rethink their business model."

The Capgemini report urged insurers to "get prepared" by improving "their ability to manage and leverage data with the aim of becoming a fully data-driven business."

While technology was seen as decreasing risk generally, the report said that it was increasing risk transparency.

Looking at the UK specifically, the report found that UK insurance customers were relatively fast in moving to mobile apps and the internet.

23 percent of customers preferred to use mobile apps for their insurance, behind the 30.2 percent in the US but ahead of the Netherlands (19.2 percent), France (14.7 percent) and Germany (11.1 percent).

51.6 percent of UK customers preferred to use the internet, ahead of the US (43.7 percent), Netherlands (41 percent), France (35.3 percent) and Germany (25.7 percent).

The report was based on over 150 insurance executive interviews in 30 countries and data from the 2015 Voice of the Customer survey.


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