Name an industry, any industry, and almost immediately you will be able to list the ways technology has impacted it. The insurance industry is no different. Technology is a game-changer, so let’s take a look at some of the effects it has had – and will have – in this area.
The Claims Process
The systems used by customers to report claims are by and large the same ones they have been using for years. That, however, is beginning to change. In the future, customers may see shorter wait times as claims move further away from human review and are instead handled by artificial intelligence. For insurance professionals, there will be much more information available by which to evaluate claims and their validity.
The Internet of Things, as it has come to be called, is that ecosystem of devices we have become increasingly surrounded by. These include your phone, the computers that run your automobile, wearables such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch, and many more. They are all connected, and in many cases, talking to each other. Information from these devices and others, such as security cameras and a vehicle’s GPS system, can be pieced together to give insurance adjusters a more accurate picture of what happened in an accident, or any incident in which an insurance claim is filed.
Can We Use It?
While technology will offer investigators new ways in which to see how an accident occurred, whether it will be admissible in court is a whole other question. Where video footage is concerned, for example, there are questions as to whether what we are seeing is accurate and reliable. If a physical copy with a clear chain of custody can be tracked and accounted for, those questions will be much easier to answer. However, questions about Deep Fakes and other forgeries are bound to pop up, with many unwilling to believe what they are seeing, regardless of what they are told.
Other technologies, such as an automobile’s “black box,” will offer data that will also prove immensely valuable in proving, or disproving, the claims of those involved in accidents. Technologies that are currently being developed will bring about even greater change in the insurance industry, leaving us asking even more questions.
What the Future Holds
Tesla produces self-driving automobiles that are already in the hands of consumers and on our roads. Companies like Waymo are currently testing driverless semi-trucks. If a self-driving vehicle gets into an accident, who will be held responsible? Will it be the manufacturer, or those who developed the software piloting the vehicle? In the movie I, Robot, Will Smith’s character is involved in a car accident that causes his vehicle to plunge into a lake. A robot saves him rather than a 12-year-old girl in the other vehicle because it has determined he has a higher likelihood of survival. Let us assume that, at some point in the future, vehicles will have similar programming which allows them to take actions meant to minimize damage in an accident. Will victims and their families be able to file claims against programmers for allowing vehicles to make those calculations, prioritizing one life over another?
In the years to come, emerging technologies will change the insurance industry in ways that likely are not being considered today. While these will undoubtedly bring some measure of ease to our lives, they also pose problems the industry will have to overcome. For example, as computer systems become more advanced, older systems in use today will become riskier and have to be upgraded or replaced. The possibility of massive data breaches, such as those suffered by First American, Equifax, and Yahoo! are not unlikely. For insurance carriers, the assistance of capable insurance attorneys who understand the industry will be more important than ever.