Although the idea of the metaverse has picked up recently, it’s not as new as it seems. It actually goes back to 1968, when Ivan Sutherland built the first VR machine at Harvard, and its adoption in industries like gaming and shopping is already widespread.
What is new is the rise of industries like insurance, finance, retail, and more getting into the metaverse. Gartner predicts that by 2026, 30% of organizations will have services and products ready for the metaverse. Furthermore, a report by Bloomberg indicated that by 2024, the metaverse market would be worth $800 billion.
The market is ripe, and many organizations are jumping in on this trend and leveraging it for their businesses.
The pandemic has given digital technologies a huge push—and the insurance industry is no different. Gone are the days when customers prefer to meet with insurance agents in-person to either sign up for coverage or get a damage assessment.
Now, they’re attuned to receiving information at the speed of light, and rightfully so. Everything is available online—so why not the insurance process?
As the use of AR and VR technologies continues to accelerate, insurance businesses may be able to perform more critical operations in the metaverse. Here’s a look at what the insurance industry might look like in the metaverse and how it could help boost efficiency and engage customers.
1. More advanced claims processing
One of the most significant trends leading the insurance industry into the metaverse is the proliferation of remote claims processing. Insurance companies can already easily assess property or automotive damage without being physically present using technologies such as Visual Intelligence. These technologies help insurers review damage remotely at the pixel level, assess risks, and process claims far more quickly and accurately. However, human intervention is still important when the client requests it and in more severe cases.
While Visual Intelligence can take care of detecting the damage and estimating repair costs, there will still be times that customers will request to speak to a person. These cases could soon shift into the metaverse, allowing insurance managers or adjusters to perform damage assessments with all of the necessary data remotely, and then meet with customers and speak with them virtually in a designated space or room for the underwriting process, to negotiate rates, and more.
This virtual option could help add more context to more complex cases while also helping insurers maintain client trust and satisfaction. Additionally, it saves time and resources for both insurer and insured. Even with automating many steps in the claims process, customers could still have instant access to a real person in the metaverse.
2. Improving the underwriting and customer experience
Insurance underwriting is a critical process as it decides the amount of risk the insurance company is willing to take on behalf of its customer. It involves comprehensive assessments of both the object to be insured, as well as the customer’s background and history. In the metaverse, underwriting meetings could be conducted in virtual spaces.
Many consumers still have a negative perception of the insurance industry due to inaccurate damage analysis, slow claims processing times, and even an inability to receive insurance at all. But with the adoption of the metaverse increasing, this could change. Document processing and analysis will be completely automated, expediting all interactions between insurance companies and customers. Customers may even be able to leverage their digital assets when securing policies.
3. Workforce training
Contrary to popular belief, neither AI nor the metaverse will likely take over an underwriter’s or insurance agent’s job any time soon. Instead, these technologies could be used to train employees from anywhere and help them perform their work more efficiently.
Anyone can already experiment with AR and VR technologies to learn how to evaluate a vehicle or property. They can learn how to capture the right images or videos and compare them with existing ones—while reducing error rates and helping insurers understand the true impact of risk and damage assessment in a controlled environment.
How can insurers prepare for the metaverse?
As with any new technology, it’s normal to be wary of it at first or write it off as a passing trend. However, just as AI has already made its way into nearly every aspect of the insurance industry, there’s a good chance the metaverse could be next.
Here are a few ways in which insurers can start preparing their operations for the metaverse right now:
1. Invest in and understand AI-driven solutions
AI automation tools are already commonplace in the insurance industry. Now is the opportunity to think about how to combine them with the metaverse. For example, to assess damage precisely in real-time and process insurance claims within a matter of minutes instead of days.
2. Experimental testing with AR/ VR technologies
Start with small training sessions to beta test and understand whether or not AR and VR technologies can help improve processes or not. Another way to assess their utility is to hold a few meetings in the metaverse. This will help stakeholders understand the basics of such technologies and generate ideas that could be used to improve the customer experience.
3. Monitor the metaverse in parallel industries
One way to keep track of where the technology is heading is to monitor its use cases in parallel industries, such as the financial and retail industries. This can help organizations understand how to apply such technologies for both internal and external processes and stay ahead of the competition.
Adopting the metaverse is not a matter of if but of when. Businesses must make an effort to understand the basics of the metaverse now, as well as its potential use cases throughout the insurance industry. Just remember, data needs to be carefully managed when transported into virtual spaces due to increased security risks. Companies will need internal teams that truly understand the implications of technologies like computer vision, machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data, and how they can all work together in the metaverse. And those who invest time and effort will undoubtedly come ahead of the rest.