A new report by Celent, an international research and advisory firm, says the insurance industry is currently undergoing changes that are defining the next generation of insurers.

The report, The Online Consumer: Reading the Insurance Customer’s Mind, examines trends in the insurance industry resulting from the changing technological era.

Luis Chipana, analyst at Celent’s Insurance Practice, is the author of the report which details how new technologies are reshaping consumer behaviour with the creation of digital channels, telematics, social media, mobility, and analytics. Since consumers are growing accustomed to new technological trends in other industries, insurers are adapting the industry as well, looking to more seamless online channels.

Will share data for discounts

The report says online consumers are not necessarily an insurance buyer or client, however they often have an insurance policy. It says most connect to the internet through their smartphones, and are more willing to share data if they receive compensation for doing so. The report found 32 per cent would share their data with insurers for immediate discounts on policies, and 21 per cent would be willing if the discount was applied later. Additionally, 71 per cent of respondents said they prefer human contact, whether by phone or in person. The other 29 per cent said to prefer interacting through online channels, such as apps, websites, social media and chat.

Technology influencing supply and demand

"Technology is influencing both sides, supply, and demand,” Chipana says. “On one hand, consumers are becoming more tech-savvy and demanding more digital channels. On the other hand, many insurers started to build and improve their digital channels, ones that fit better with the needs of the new online insurance consumer."