Alternative FinTech Threats to the Insurance Industry
The insurance industry has seemingly awoken from a slumber in the last few years, and is now comparatively surging with innovative energy and insurtech propositions, according to research by GlobalData Financial Services and Life Insurance International.
Google: Despite a previous failed venture within the insurance market, Google remains a potential alternative provider. The impact it could have is significant, largely the result of its technological capabilities, big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and the development of autonomous vehicles
Apple: The threat posed by Apple is a little different to other alternative providers. Unlikely to undertake a lone venture, Apple’s impact will lie in future collaboration with an incumbent player, enabling it to leverage technology and Apple’s loyal customer base.
Facebook: Operating as a lone provider is unlikely to be a realistic option for Facebook. However, the social network’s vast customer base and successful integration into everyday life could position it as an invaluable partner – particularly if it is able to break into the commercial space.
Amazon: Amazon poses a serious threat should it venture into the insurance industry. Renowned for customer service and the logistics behind this, should it collaborate with a current insurer it would vastly improve its technological capabilities, providing an edge over competitor.
Telecommunication operators: Some telecommunications operators currently operate within insurance, highlighting the possibility for further products to be offered. The current level of disruption is minimal, but as future propositions rely more on constant connectivity these businesses will wield increasing power.
Life Insurance International recently reported that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan have collaborated to create a healthcare company to serve their US employees. This marks the start of the journey of alternative providers entering the insurance market, according to GlobalData Financial Services
The insurance industry has been nervously tracking alternative providers such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple in the belief they might join the insurance market. Amazon is the first to make the move by entering the US employee healthcare market.
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan (three of the largest private employers in the US) are collaborating to create a healthcare company with the aim of cutting healthcare costs and improving services for their US employees. They aim to address the issue of rising healthcare costs in the US, and want to offer simple, transparent, lower-cost healthcare by utilizing technology.
But this will likely only be the start of the companies’ proposition. Its scope could expand to partner with other employers in the US market. This would provide a major competitive threat to other US healthcare providers, which has already been confirmed by their shares dropping in value following the announcement.
Partnership opportunities for InsurTech providers and insurers
Collaborators: Insurers, app developers, flight-tracking companies
Product: Flight delay insurance
Example: Partnership between Chubb, Swiss Re, App in the Air, and FlightStats
Market impact: With few alternative products available there is little competition for the flight delay insurance offered through App in the Air (although the market is currently small). Incorporating the product into a wider travel insurance proposition would disrupt the wider travel insurance market.
Collaborators: Vehicle manufacturers, insurers
Product: Motor insurance
Example: Tesla and Direct Line
Market impact: With vehicle manufacturers increasing the capabilities of in-car technology (particularly autonomous vehicles), opportunities will arise for those willing to partner and develop a deeper understanding about the benefits of innovative technology. Premiums may reduce as safety standards of vehicles increase.