For more than 50 years, insurers have used technology to automate the systematic procedures and processes of the business. The focus has been on streamlining operations and managing large volumes of transactions—with goals of cutting processing costs and improving turnaround times and customer service.

Executive Summary

As the P/C insurance business makes a transition from focusing on automation for efficiency and cost control to using technology to unlock insight and innovation, carrier leaders are analyzing the "transformational" technologies with the potential to reshape the business. Here, SMA's Mark Breading lists the top ones—the highest-impact technologies—based on research with insurance executives. He also explains that the descriptor "emerging" is no longer applicable and describes a scenario planning tool to help carriers deal with uncertainties ahead.

Many improvements in automation are still needed; both cost control and processing speed will remain key motivators for the foreseeable future. But in recent years, the focus has been shifting from efficient operations to insight and innovation. And driving this shift are what SMA terms transformational technologies.

As the business makes this transition from automation to insight and innovation, companies that can do it right will realize significant competitive advantage—through new products and coverages for a changing world of risk, honed risk selection, precision pricing, new distribution models to reach customers, and proactive risk management and claims. In fact, SMA believes that the property/casualty insurance business will be fundamentally different in 10 years, and much of the dramatic change will be directly attributable to transformational technologies.

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