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New growth opportunities: Unlock the value of data and transform the insurance customer journey

Digitalisation continues to shape and impact our lives in bigger and bigger ways.

In 2018, a million new Internet users came online everyday. Faster networks, better data, smarter phones. In Asian economies like Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea nearly every citizen is armed with a smart phone that enable e-commerce transactions, social channel interactions and mutually beneficial data exchanges faster than we can blink.

In others like China, mobiles are transforming how its citizens work, play, shop and even make insurance claims. The rest of Asia isn't far behind as governments realize they cannot afford to be left behind in this race to commercialize data. Movie tickets, parking fines, insurance claims, legally binding contracts, flowers can now be bought or sold by mobile, and in some cases, on a single super-app.

It won't end here. This is just the beginning. Insurance, experts say, is on the cusp of a revolution.

How did we get here? Research shows that 90% of all data collected today has been in existence for only two years, and 2.5 quintrillion bytes of data is generated every day.1 Data can be anything from a shopper's information, transaction details and cellphone GPS signals, to wearables, website visits and social media posts. It is estimated that by 2020 each one of us will create 1.7MB of data every second.2 So how can all of this data be leveraged? Businesses have done a pretty good job tracking clicks, swipes and shares to make decisions about how they will market to and interact with consumers. Still, the exchange of data – useful data – can only happen if people feel secure and believe they are getting some sort of benefit in return for what they are showing you.

How will this impact the future of insurance?

As our daily lives are transformed by digitalisation and data, so will insurance. That includes the customer journey – the way insurance is purchased, how we underwrite risk and the way the insured makes a claim. We can also expect more predictive, personalised and dynamic insurance protection solutions and digitalisation will also change the way insurers evaluate, accept and manage new and emerging risks.

In the past, insurers based their decisions regarding new and emerging risks on generic information such as gender, age, weight, blood pressure, medical and family history, which was submitted in the initial stage of the insurance purchase. This information along with the life table has traditionally formed the basis of risk assessment and premium setting. However, the exponential growth of new forms of data is enabling faster and improved access to and assessment of new and emerging risks. This is allowing us to extend health protection beyond the healthy population to people who have pre-existing health conditions and close the protection gap. For instance, Swiss Re recently worked with insurers and digital partners to develop the first dynamic pricing product for diabetics in Thailand and health protection solutions for future unknown diseases.

How are re/insurers leveraging technology and data to underwrite new risk?

New, real-time and unconventional data will provide insights into a customer's life from daily activities, sleep quality and other personal metrics. All of these are valuable and can be embedded into the underwriting process, enabling insurers to gain a deeper understanding of how we underwrite new and emerging health risks. At the same time, this deeper data gathering and analysis will improve the way we engage with our customers throughout their journey.

Digitalisation and new approaches to underwriting are already bearing fruit in the form of predictive and dynamic insurance protection solutions. As data becomes a key driver of the healthcare ecosystem, we can expect to see more innovative transformation which will ultimately enhance the customer experience and journey.

I will be sharing more on new trends and innovative approaches to underwriting and how can we get ready for the future of insurance. Stay tuned!

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