The fourth trend I’d like to look at in my series about the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 is “Design for Humans: Inspire New Behaviors”. This is all about how technology is adapting to how we behave in order to learn how to enhance our lives. This, in turn, is shrinking the gap between effective human and machine cooperation.

Artificial intelligence tools and Internet of Things interfaces in the connected home, car and workplace are maturing. This is allowing insurers to gather, analyze and act on customer data in real-time, and to begin to account for individual human behavior. Insurers suddenly have a potential level of insight they’ve never had before: an insight into how people think, what they want, and how they react.

As a starting point, they will be able to shift from pooling and pricing risk based only on historical data to automatically assessing and pricing risk directly, individually and in real-time. There is also an opportunity for insurers to move beyond simply providing customers with insurance cover.

They can provide them with risk management solutions that address their real goals—all driven by adaptive technologies and interfaces that interact with customers and employees in a more natural, human way.  And they can understand which incentives will motivate positive change in customers’ behavior, potentially lowering risks and claims.

This is a significant change for the industry. Most insurers seldom interact with customers outside the sales, renewal and claims processes; many don’t own the customer relationship because their agents do. Now, the new wave of mass personalization technologies and interfaces gives insurers an opportunity to make their brands a bigger part of everyday life.

We have already seen the start of this evolution in auto insurance, where many carriers use vehicle telematics data to adjust premiums to customers’ actual driving rather than just their driving history and the histories of similar drivers. One could imagine a near-future where smart sensors detect when a vehicle or other asset is in use and automatically place and price coverage based on factors such as time of day, location, asset status and information about insured’s claims record.

Home insurers are looking to connected home technologies to personalize premium pricing and help customers avoid claims in the first place. Home owners are incentivized for good habits such as switching the alarm on, locking the doors, and switching heating and stoves off when they are not around. In fact, smart technology should be smart enough to cater for human forgetfulness and switch the stove off when the motion detector fails to detect movement for a given period.

As for commercial insurers, the new technologies offer an opportunity to partner with customers to help them avoid business losses and interruptions. They could use sensor data for usage-based or variable insurance pricing—insurance premiums for commercial shipping based on cargo, weather and the route chosen.

Insurers that will lead in future will understand that their primary role is no longer to drive people toward a product or service, but to partner with customers to reduce risks and improve outcomes at home, at work, or in their vehicles. Their new goal is to help define a path that people can follow to reach their goals, whether those are to leave a legacy for their families, ensure they have access to safe transportation, safeguard precious possessions or make sure that their factory production lines keep running smoothly.

You can read the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 Full Report, Executive Summary and infographic for the highlights of our research.