Digital insurance and the remote working and studying boom
By Franz-Xaver Burner, Chief Growth Officer & Co-Founder at bsurance discusses why location based insurance on the go supports the new trend of remote working
Several years ago I remember reading an article introducing the concept of the ‘digital nomad’. At that time the idea of a life of remote working and constant travel seemed like a luxury afforded to a select wealthy or lucky few within the tech industry. It was, in mine and many other people’s opinion, nothing more than a curiosity. One of those odd futurist trends that bubbles up and quickly disappears. How wrong we all were. Thanks to a confluence of behavioural trends and new technology all supercharged by the pandemic we now live in the world where remote working, studying and even living is fast becoming the norm. In fact, 15.5 million Amercians describe themselves as digital nomads. Such rapid change is not without its challenges. There are still many parts of our everyday life that can be difficult to adapt to this lifestyle. Insurance and finance are two industries that are struggling to keep up. However, recent advances in insurtech have come at just the right time and could play a key role in making this transition so much easier. I am of course talking about location based insurance or ‘insurance on-the-go’.
To understand why this may be the case, let’s first look at what insurance on-the-go involves. A simple example is travel insurance. Travelling to an individual country for work, a holiday or both isn’t too taxing, however, if you’re constantly making trips or going through multiple countries the process can get tedious. It is easy to make mistakes or simply forget to get cover. The result, if something does go wrong, can lead to financial disaster. The risk, therefore, is very real.
Imagine instead that your phone did all the heavy lifting. Using location based data, your insurance could be automatically updated depending on where you are or what you are doing. This saves the customer a lot of time and money and provides insurance companies with a way to automatically provide wide ranging cover directly at the point of need..
The same principle applies to health and personal goods insurance. In fact, it’s easy to see how you can bundle every type of coverage a digital nomad would need into one simple offering. All they will need to do is share some personal and location data. Consumers have consistently shown that if they are provided with something that is convenient, cost-effective or simply better they will happily part with some private data.
For financial organisations insurance on-the-go is an intuitive value add to their customer proposition. It can be easily integrated into existing banking apps to enable customers to quickly opt in as they are managing their financial affairs ahead of travelling or studying. We actually worked with Raiffeisen, one of Austria’s banks, to do exactly this with ski-accident insurance. Short-term insurance could be activated via smartphone instantly just before getting on the ski lift.
A simple concept but one that opens the door to making consumers think about insurance in a whole new light and consequently opening the industry up to a whole new wave of innovation. For example, by combining location data with other open data sources we can start to embark on creating fully personalised and dynamic insurance. A great example of that is our Usage Based Insurance for the automotive industry, which we launched in partnership with Amodo.Insurance products which can modified based on the risks associated with certain behaviours or to be instantly insured on a car that’s not one’s own, is already a game-changer for all sides- drivers, insurance carriers and automotive companies.
Eventually, managing every type of insurance may not even need any input from the consumer or the insurer. Everything will automatically update via their phone or other personal device to match what is happening in real time. This is not another potential ‘odd futurist trend’ – it is going to happen very soon. After all, we have seen in the past two years just how quickly embedded insurance has taken off. Consumers are getting used to insurance being a product that they can instantly avail themselves of without a lot of research or paper work. The natural progression of the industry is towards insurance that readily adapts to consumers’ new needs and lifestyles. We also know that companies are under a lot of pressure to differentiate their digital offering and a valuable service such as insurance is a very straightforward option to add into the consumer experience. As more companies and people adopt insurance on-the-go the wider insurance industry will benefit from more insight via the large amount of data that will be generated. This will enable more innovation and bespoke products to be created. We only need to look at the fintech industry for inspiration. There has been an explosion in startups offering a range of new products and tools – from AI-driven money management and financial aggregators through to new KYC solutions and buy now pay later (BNPL) services. The insurance industry is on the cusp of a similar period of disruption of which insurance on-the-go is going to be an important part. It is often said that, ‘no one wakes up thinking they want to buy insurance’. Well – when insurance becomes embedded in everyone’s lives, they won’t have to think about it again – it’ll just be there.