Tag Archives: 5g

Tech Is Changing in Personal Lines

Policyholders faced innumerable challenges within the past two years, resulting in unprecedented changes to their consumer behavior. Personal lines insurers responded swiftly to meet insureds’ new and evolving needs. They went all-in on digital self-servicing capabilities for customers, agents and employees, but recent market activity suggests that insurers’ top technology priorities of the past year may be different in 2022.

New research from SMA shows that the plans and progress of some transformational technologies are accelerating as others have hit the brakes. The “Transformational Technologies in P&C Personal Lines: Insurer Progress, Plans and Predictions for 2022 and Beyond” report offers a glimpse into which technologies have the most activity in the industry, where insurers are investing and what insurance executives think about the potential of the technology to transform their businesses.

Of the 13 technologies deemed transformational in the report, including AI-related innovations and others that fall outside of the AI family, six are seen as having a short-term impact on personal lines, yielding significant changes to business operations and the customer experience. The report also examines technologies in the mid-term horizon that are expected to become more mainstream in the industry in the next two to three years and long-term horizon technologies.

Personal lines insurers are currently reprioritizing their plans with a blend of investment activity and maturity levels. Research shows insurers currently favor digital capabilities that replace face-to-face interactions – continuing a trend that emerged early in the pandemic. One example of a technology under rapid development is virtual payments. Nearly seven in 10 personal lines insurers report investing in digital payment technologies during the pandemic, including mainstream services like Venmo and Zelle and insurance-specific vendors. While the initial focus has been on inbound payment solutions, SMA observes that piloting and implementation of outbound claims payment solutions are already beginning to expand.

See also: 2022 Resolutions to Foster Innovation

When looking at long-term transformational technologies, 5G/edge computing shows increased promise in personal lines, with more insurers reporting interest in the technology now than in previous studies. Many of the possibilities related to the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles and new user interaction technologies, and others will depend highly on the widespread availability and adoption of 5G. As the technology becomes more widely adopted, it is likely to move to the mid-term horizon before becoming a short-term technology.

As the pandemic continues to play out and a post-COVID era emerges, personal lines insurers will continually need to review and revise their technology strategies and plans. The move toward broad-based digital capabilities will require insurers to understand how specific technologies contribute to digital transformation and how priorities and road maps are changing in the current environment.

For more information on how personal lines insurers plan to make use of these technologies, see SMA’s recently published research report: “Transformational Technologies in P&C Personal Lines: Insurer Progress, Plans and Predictions for 2022 and Beyond.”

5G Will Transform P&C, Car Repair

Today’s technology news is dominated by articles about the promise of 5G—it was one of the top stories coming out of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. 5G, so named because it’s the generation following today’s 4G, could bring mobile phones information 600 times faster than today’s speeds. Further, 5G will enable connections of up to 1 million devices per square kilometer. That is significantly more than the 2,000 to 10,000 devices per square kilometer that 4G allows.

The capacity for a massive increase in connected devices that respond seemingly instantly will bring about important innovations in a range of sectors, including the property & casualty and collision repair industries. As Kent Finley wrote in Wired, “There’s more to 5G than just speed; 5G technologies should also be able to serve a great many devices nearly in real time. That will be crucial as the number of internet-connected cars, environmental sensors, thermostats and other gadgets accelerates in coming years.” It’s these and other connected devices that have the greatest implications for these industries.

5G and Connected Cars

5G has the potential to be a game-changer in terms of how connected cars interact both with other vehicles and with the environment around them. In the future, 5G will enable faster, more reliable connections with cellular networks as well as “vehicle to anything (V2X)” communications—with the anything being “car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure” linkages, as Digital Trends’ Jeff Zurschmeide explains. As he put it, “Cellular and other V2X communications … (will be) critical for autonomous driving, but they can also improve your driving experience while you’re still behind the wheel. For example, systems have been tested in which vehicles are allowed access to traffic light signal information,” helping drivers, both humans soon and autonomous vehicles later, work in concert with signal timing, improving traffic flow.

5G connectivity will be essential for innovation in vehicles to make the next big leap forward, including managing the charging of electric vehicles and making autonomous ones acceptable and then routine.

See also: Why 5G Will Rock the Insurance World  

Impact on Insurers and Collision Repair Facilities

5G has significant implications for the entire auto physical damage ecosystem. As the number of sensors in vehicles increases, the data they produce may collect details of collision damage, which in aggregate can help manufacturers improve vehicle designs, carriers price coverage appropriately and collision repair facilities accomplish proper and safe repairs.

Further, the ability for vehicles to communicate with each other and the environment via 5G may signal greater safety on the road. For instance, with embedded sensors, vehicles could crowd source information about weather, road conditions and hazards and share it with other vehicles in real time. But increased vehicle complexity may also signal increased repair complexity. As Mitchell’s Jack Rozint explains, as advanced driver assistance systems become more prevalent, repair facilities “must be prepared to fix, and heed the advice of, a computer network on wheels.” This is a pattern that is likely to escalate as 5G drives the adoption of increasingly sophisticated onboard computers.

5G in Healthcare: Reverberations Across P&C

5G is expected to bring significant changes to healthcare that will reverberate across the property & casualty industry. Among the most important opportunities will be Internet of Medical Things (IOMT) devices that allow for sophisticated remote monitoring of patients. Today’s consumer wearables and even IOMT devices like heart and diabetes monitors already provide medical care providers with information and insights that they previously would not have had access to. 5G networks will have greater stability and lower latency and be much less of a drain on battery life, so they will be able to support more critical healthcare monitoring and functions. And with the data these sensor-enabled devices produce, healthcare providers can deliver more personalized care.

See also: Blockchain, Privacy and Regulation  

In fact, 5G networks will be so fast and so stable that one company, Ericcson, believes they will be able to support functions that could mean the difference between life and death like remote robotic surgery performed by a physician working on a patient via a super-precise robot. In the not-too-distant future, the surgeon could be performing a remote surgery as close as in the same building as the patient or as far as in another continent due to the speed of 5G in IOMT.

When Will 5G Get Here?

While wireless carriers are rolling out early iterations of 5G networks worldwide, it may be several more years before the systems are in that will make V2X and remote robotic surgery a broadly shared reality.

Based on the expected advances that 5G will foster and the current speed of innovation, I envision the way we live today will someday seem quaint, with today’s phones, cars and medical equipment appearing to our future selves as antiquated as a rotary phone. Maybe not tomorrow, but possibly faster than we might expect.

Why 5G Will Rock the Insurance World

The first time I logged in to the internet, I had a dial-up modem and a large desktop computer with tower, a separate keyboard and giant speakers. After the dial tone, there were  squeaks and honks as the computer took its time logging in. Then the words flashed across the screen: “You’ve Got Mail.” It was an iconic moment for me and one that millions of people around the world would experience in their own time.

Then there were cellphones. You could literally talk to anyone anywhere, as long as there was a signal and you had saved some serious money. Later, smartphones were developed and once again changed the playing field. I found myself able to download apps that I didn’t know I needed, check my bank account or the status of my Amazon package and update my status from my phone – reaching all my friends no matter their or my location.

Long gone were the days of dial-up and slow connection speeds. Now, I find myself refreshing when my phone doesn’t access the site I want after 15 seconds.

All these developments in technology and society provided the finance and insurance industry with tremendous challenges. While other industries built new revenue streams on top of the internet and digital infrastructure, a lot of insurance companies are struggling with providing the most basic digital services to their customers.

And it’s about to get worse. 5G – a new form of mobile internet – is going to accelerate things. A lot.

5G means high-speed mobile internet

There are a lot of questions surrounding 5G services: What does 5G mean? How fast is it? When will it launch? Probably the biggest question surrounding 5G services is: How will we and our customers use it? One of the most important things to know about 5G services is that it will most likely bolster economies worldwide. The website Innovator cited a report by IHS Markit and Research Group that predicts “by 2035 5G will create 22 million jobs globally, generate $3.5 trillion in direct economic activity and fuel sustainable long-term growth to global real GDP.” 5G is a game changer, just like the internet, computers, motor vehicles, and the wheel. It will change the world as we know it.

What does 5G mean? How fast is it? When will it launch? Techopedia says: “Fifth-generation wireless (5G) is a wireless networking architecture built on the 802.11ac IEEE wireless networking standard, which aims to increase data communication speeds by up to three times compared with its predecessor, 4G.” Reports vary as to how much faster 5G will be; some reports say 10x faster, and other reports indicate that it could be 20x faster or more. Much of the improvement will have to do with locations and service providers, but it’s going to be a large jump. We may have to wait a little, but this train has left the station – and it’s not coming back. While 5G operators are beginning to roll out their systems this year, most markets won’t be up and running until 2019, and more likely 2020.

See also: What Will Operations Look Like in 2028?  

For retail, that sounds far away. For the insurance industry, with long planning cycles and gigantic project portfolios, that means “tomorrow.”

How will we use 5G? Many are questioning what the purpose is of faster service, especially those who are content with 4G services. 5G goes beyond the mobile phone user. While users may see a boost in service (especially in downloads and streaming), 5G technology is going to improve how the world operates. Users will have increased connectivity. Apps for which heavy computers are now necessary could transfer tremendous amounts of data quickly, probably providing digital services we can’t imagine today.

With a smart 5G strategy, the insurance companies could expand

One special case for the insurance industry: 5G technologies are going to streamline the Internet of Things (IoT), especially for consumer usage. So, after mobile internet, smart phones and 4G changed the way customers consumed, 5G is about to change everything again. Right now, our smartphones can talk to individual devices, but with 5G technology speeds we can further streamline these smart devices and achieve breakthroughs where they speak to each other instead. Imagine if your refrigerator could tell your oven when your steak had finished defrosting, and the oven automatically started pre-heating! Imagine that an oven could warn the customer that crucial parts are overheating, and a fire is likely. Imagine that an insurer informs the customer and that he can act on the information. Imagine how the customer would fall in love with his carrier or agent after he saves the customer’s house?

In addition to general consumer usage, 5G is going to make a huge impact in industry and commercial insurance. With 5G technology, we will be able to track shipments in real time, upload information from doctors’ offices instantly and watch videos everywhere, without having to consider the bandwidth. Autonomous cars may become a broad reality, as they can generate real time data with which to operate. Drones will be able to provide better feedback and travel farther. Industry and manufacturing automation can improve with smart factories and the use of artificial intelligence. Currently, there are some factories using artificial intelligence to trouble shoot designs, and IoT technology to determine when machinery needs servicing. With 5G technology, these types of programs can be adopted by more companies and expanded to further suit the manufacturing needs. All of this has tremendous impact on calculating risk and preventing claims – the core of our industry.

With smart vehicles being so much more efficient, and safe, we can expect to see insurance rates drop, according to an article on Innovator. We can also expect to see faster transactions and approvals. With a wealth of information at our fingertips, it may only be a matter of time before purchasing a home goes from a months-long ordeal, to something that takes place in a weekend (or faster) or even maybe without a bank at all.

“5G will impact every industry – autos, healthcare, manufacturing and distribution, emergency services, just to name a few. And 5G is purposely designed so that these industries can take advantage of cellular connectivity in ways that wouldn’t have been possible before, and to scale upward as use of 5G expands” — Don Rosenberg shared this thought as part of the World Economic Forum.

Rosenberg also said 4G led to innovations like Uber and Spotify. How will 5G affect, say, Facebook’s business model? What other changes have yet to be imagined?

See also: How Digital Platform Smooths Operations  

The world is constantly changing, though some “groundbreaking” innovations do little to change it. Then something like 5G services come along and completely change the foundation of how our world operates. 5G will change us, on a worldwide level.

What to do? Don’t love your products – love your customer.

Instead of fearing the next challenge after the landline-based and mobile internet, why should we not use this as an opportunity to expand our value chain? Why shouldn’t we put ourselves between the customer and product and service providers instead of leaving this interface to the customer to the old and emerging tech giants from California and China? Why shouldn’t we provide our customers digital products and services that relieve them of friction and pain in their daily lives? Why should not we use 5G as an opportunity to get ahead and become a trusted companion in the daily life of our customers? It’s still our choice.

Top Mega-Trends With Big Implications

It used to be common to say that “technology is marching forward, improving business and society.” But today, it would be more accurate to say that technology is sprinting forward – with progress at breakneck speed and breakthroughs happening in multiple fields on a regular basis. There are so many technologies – some new, some just emerging – that is it virtually impossible to track the progress of all of them, let alone explore all their implications. This may put insurers in an uncomfortable position. Insurance is an industry based on historical data and long-term predictions. However, technologies are now inundating the world with real-time data and a change-pace so accelerated that it is difficult to make predictions. Fortunately, SMA’s new research report, The Emerging Tech Landscape: 10 Mega-Trends for 2018 and Beyond, assists by taking a big-picture view of the key developments in the tech world.

To paraphrase George Orwell’s quote from Animal Farm, “All technologies are equal, but some technologies are more equal than others.” Every technology has a role to play in the business and personal spheres. Mature technologies such as telephony and email still matter. More recent technologies like mobile and social media have become mandatory, foundational technologies and have been instrumental in transforming the world. Emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables and many others are poised to anchor the next wave of global transformation – affecting the way we live, work and play. It is these emerging technologies that require the rapt attention from insurers now. The earlier technologies are still very important, but insurers have already built those into their business and have had lots of experience with them. But the emerging technologies now have more potential to fundamentally change the insurance industry than anything else at any other time in history. The risk landscape will change. Many new options are becoming available that will change internal operations. Customer expectations are changing, and new customer segments are coming into view.

See also: Key Insurtech Trends to Watch  

Some of the mega-trends that insurers should be monitoring and considering in terms of strategy implications are:

  • 5G and AI Form the Foundation: 5G communications networks and artificial intelligence will form the key foundations for the digital connected world in the next decade. We will need to move lots of data very fast and automate the analysis and actions surrounding that data.
  • User Interfaces Are Revolutionized: We are witnessing a dramatic expansion of how we interact with computers and the world around us in new and more natural ways. These new UI technologies affect both emerging technologies and incumbent technologies. The technologies are now rapidly maturing to mimic and capitalize on all of our senses as well as the movements of our bodies.
  • Mobility is Hot: Autonomous vehicles are enjoying a great deal of press these days. But this is only one aspect of a complex picture of the evolution of mobility. The notion of mobility encompasses many innovative technologies and approaches to moving people and goods from place to place.

These are just a few of the mega-trends that are important for insurance. Expect these and others to be dominant themes over the next few years. Taken as a whole, the change wrought by emerging technologies is likely to rock the insurance industry for the next decade. That said, insurance is still insurance, and the industry has many strengths to build on. The great challenge (and opportunity) for senior management teams is to double down on traditional insurance strengths while building a highly adaptive organization to respond to changes and prosper in the new era.

See also: 5 Trends for Employers to Watch in 2018  

Click here for more information on SMA’s recent research report, The Emerging Tech Landscape: 10 Mega-Trends for 2018 and Beyond.

Top 10 Lists From CES2018

CES (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show), has become the biggest tech event in the world. CES2018 was so massive that there could probably be 50 different Top 10 lists. Here are just a few of mine that I hope you will find interesting and useful.

  1. 5G and AI are the top enabling technologies for the connected world of the next decade.
  2. Voice assistants are everywhere – incorporated into every smart device possible.
  3. Everyone is talking about mobility (driverless vehicles, the sharing economy, smart cities reshaping transport).
  4. The next big user interface (UI) trend will be Augmented Reality for All (AR for All).
  5. Cutting the cord is a big trend (wireless power, untethered virtual reality (VR), wireless audio, etc.).
  6. Biometrics gain steam for security (facial recognition, fingerprint, voiceprint, iris scan, etc.).
  7. Smart Cities are gaining more visibility (they even had a special agenda and exhibit focus this year).
  8. AI is not only an enabler for the next decade, it is becoming dominant today.
  9. Specialized chips and sensors abound – for LiDAR, AI, visioning, and many other applications.
  10. Smart-home tech continues to proliferate, and winning platforms and companies are starting to emerge.

  1. BYTON vehicle: New car company with an awesome vision for a “smartphone on wheels.”
  2. Flexound: Sensation of touch added through sound waves.
  3. Bellus3D: 3D modeling of human face/head to create avatars, etc. (To see mine, click here).
  4. Aflac robotic duck: Cuddly animatronic, AI-based duck given to kids with cancer.
  5. IV-Walk: Vest to administer IV fluids and enable patients by providing more mobility.
  6. Foldimate: Automatic clothes-folding machine.
  7. LG Display’s roll-up TV: Ultra-thin 65” OLED TV display that can be rolled up.
  8. SapientX: Movie quality avatars for conversational AI.
  9. Monuma: Blockchain-based app to record and estimate the value of costly objects.
  10. Guardian by Elexa: Water monitoring system with leak detection and automatic shut-off capability.

  1. Tennibot: Autonomous tennis ball collector.
  2. Robomart: World’s first self-driving store.
  3. Phrame: Smart license plate frame.
  4. 90Fun Puppy 1: Self-driving luggage (yes, it follows you around).
  5. B-Hyve: Smart yard (monitors watering systems).
  6. Milliboo: Smart couch.
  7. Kohler: Connected, talking toilet, enabled by Alexa.
  8. Somnox: Small robot that you can cuddle and sleep with.
  9. Velco: Connected handlebars.
  10. Kuri: Robot that acts like a digital pet.

See also: Collaborating for a Better Blockchain  

What, you may ask, does this have to do with insurance? It turns out that many of these are relevant for insurance in one way or another (okay, maybe not the talking toilet). But overall, these lists give a small glimpse of the era of unprecedented innovation that is sweeping the world. The things that the insurance industry insures, the way insurers communicate with prospects and policyholders, the nature of risk and how insurers improve operations all are being affected by the trends in emerging technologies, and we are only at the beginning of the digital, connected world.