Personalization technologies and interfaces give insurers an opportunity to make their brands a bigger part of their customers’ everyday lives.

With access to maturing AI tools and the Internet of Things, insurers can begin to account for individual human behavior. The result? Carriers have the potential to move beyond simple personalization techniques to offer their customers tailored “living services” that are aligned to their personal and workplace behaviors and goals.

82 percent of insurers agree that organizations need to understand not only where people are today, but where they want to be.

For insurance, more than many other industries, this is a significant step forward. Most insurers seldom interact with customers outside the sales, renewal and claims processes, and many don’t own the customer relationship because their intermediaries do. But personalization technologies and interfaces give them an opportunity to make their brands a bigger part of their customers’ everyday lives.

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 behavior rather than just their driving history and the histories of similar drivers. Pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) insurance lowers premiums for people who don’t drive many miles and pay-how-you-drive (PHYD) models take driving behaviors such as speeding and sharp braking into account.

Many carriers are now looking at the next step, manage-how-you drive (MHYD), where they coach drivers to improve their driving habits. One could imagine, in a few years, pay-as-you-go insurance that uses smart sensors to detect when a vehicle or other asset is in use and automatically to place and price coverage based on factors such as time of day, location, asset status and information about the insured’s claims record.

In the future, insurers might even partner with companies such as Mobileye, which provides a collision avoidance solution that uses a vision sensor to keep an eye on the road and warn drivers of potential danger. Thus, in addition to providing theft insurance and collision cover, insurers and the ecosystems they’re part of could play a role in keeping customers safe as they drive.

This could extend to using biometric data to respond in real-time to the needs of a driver or passenger. According to Frost & Sullivan, by 2025 one in three new passenger vehicles could include features such as fingerprint, iris, voice and gesture recognition, as well as heartbeat, brainwave, stress, fatigue, facial and pulse monitoring.

Similar trends are playing out in other segments of the insurance market. Silicon Valley insurance startup Trōv has turned on-demand insurance for consumer electronics into a lifestyle app. Its customers can insure single possessions for as long or as briefly as they like (down to the cent and the second) with a swipe on their smartphones. Items are valued using live data and the app keeps an inventory of the insured’s items, even identifying invoices for new purchases from the user’s inbox. Customers file claims with a chatbot that uses contextual language to collect date and location information, a description and images of the claim. AXA has partnered with Trōv to launch an on-demand, mobile-first service aimed at millennials in Britain.

But these types of applications are just the start. To take it to a higher level, insurers need to make fundamental changes to the way they do business. Their primary role will be to partner with customers to reduce risks and improve outcomes at home, at work or in their vehicles. And their new goal will be 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 their factory production lines keep running smoothly.

In my next post, I’ll look at the ways blockchain is solving the challenges of governance, accountability and digital trust.

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