In Focus: Time and technology

Gary Humphreys Markerstudy

Markerstudy’s Gary Humphreys considers how to ‘stay down with the kids’, get ahead and save time in an increasingly digitised world.

Last year I celebrated my 50th birthday and with any great milestone comes the penchant to ponder the concept of time and the challenges, changes, adventures and advancements along the way.

Time is a valuable commodity and one which we all want more of, especially me.   

I realise that even uttering the sentence ‘down with the kids’ makes me look positively prehistoric and would trigger an eye-roll of embarrassment from my children but I actually think I’m quite au fait with pop culture.

The fact is this - technology is shaping our behaviour. Do we lead this revolution or let others swoop in and seize the opportunities from right under our nose?  

Rise of the machines
By the end of 2017 it’s estimated that 70% of e-commerce will be transacted on a mobile which means one thing – we must move to capture this market or before long we will all be extinct.

Apple is said to be moving into the life insurance market. How long before it also offers every type of cover available through its own app, pre-loaded into every mobile phone and tablet? Speed is the new currency and the appetite of the customer is seemingly insatiable.

Giving ourselves a head start
Despite the powerful businesses potentially moving into our market, we as a sector have assets at our disposal that give us an advantage. By utilising our existing state-of-the-art data enrichment tools and cutting-edge rating technology we have the instruments needed to dictate the future of insurance.

For example, we created the TRiCE app, with this vision in mind, employing technology from RDT to build the fastest and smartest rating app on the market. This is the way that the purchasing of insurance is going to go – it’s a fact.

So rather than let the likes of Apple come in and steal our thunder we’ve pioneered it ourselves.

There are sticking points - GDPR poses obvious potential issues initially. However, we’re all in the same boat and with the right proposition will be in a stronger position after May, in the knowledge that the customers on our books are genuinely interested in what we have to say. We might encourage loyalty and retention with this new dimension to our offering and, I think, if we can nail the service element we’ll be onto a winner.

There are a number of disruptors currently making waves in the claims market and I’ve no doubt that, along with advancements in driverless technology, tech companies like Lemonade will have an incredible influence over the operations of the industry over the next few years.

There will also be more like Apple that try their hand but by using our knowledge we can, with the right proposition, beat them to the punch. 

It’s exciting and although there are associated costs in the outlay of getting ahead when it comes to technology, the potential rewards are limitless.    

Gary Humphreys is group underwriting director of Markerstudy

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