2023 wrought massive changes in the insurance and insurtech space. The industry saw geopolitical conflicts escalate in the Ukraine and break out in the Middle East. Generative AI was unleashed, spurning waves of panic in technologist circles as experts declared it both the best thing, and the worst thing that could possibly happen to humanity.
Climate change has seen shifts in the insurance space too, as under insured areas hit by catastrophe, were left high and dry by the industry. But new technologies have also emerged as a result, and innovators have sought to fill the new gaps in the market place with IoT offerings and parametric solutions.
There have been many other tectonic changes, and the next few months will see even greater transformations still. Insurtech Insights reached out to 10 industry leaders to find out which trends, in their opinion, will have the greatest impact on the insurance industry in 2024 and why.
1) SPECIALITY SPACE CHANGES
Adrian Cox, CEO of Beazley
“It’s time for specialty insurers to step up. In less turbulent times, price when purchasing insurance has often been prioritised. Now we are seeing a shift in attitude, which is endorsed by more than a third of the business leaders we surveyed as part of our Risk & Resilience research, who are planning to explore specialty insurance options that integrate risk and crisis management, in recognition of the mounting challenges they face. With 33% of global business executives foreseeing they will be operating in a high-risk environment in 2024, as an industry now is the time for us to step up and support them.”
2) GEOPOLITICAL CHALLENGES WILL CONTINUE TO HIT THE HEADLINES
Roddy Barnett, Head of Political Risk & Trade Credit, Beazley
“Geopolitical instability will continue to dominate headlines, boardroom agendas, and the focus of many businesses and nations globally. As we enter 2024, our Risk & Resilience research shows that nearly a quarter of businesses surveyed (24%) believe that geopolitics will be a key risk that they must navigate. The ongoing war in Ukraine, the conflict in Gaza, and the potential for flare-ups in the Straits of Taiwan and Hormuz means this belief is highly prescient. Alongside geopolitical risk, ongoing economic uncertainty continues to be a key source of concern for one in four (25%) global executives.
“The economic environment and heightened risk of insolvencies across supply chains have prompted greater awareness of trade credit insurance and the security it confers, and I anticipate that this is an area that will continue to grow next year. The rampant global inflation that dominated 2023 shows signs of dissipating, but political risk will remain in the spotlight. Food and energy costs are likely to stay persistently high, which may prompt local and national unrest in developing countries, government defaults, and the seizure of foreign assets, particularly from newly installed populist regimes.”
3) CYBER COMPLIANCE AND RISK TECHNOLOGIES WILL RISE TO THE CHALLENGE
Paul Donnelly, Executive Vice President, EMEA / FINEOS
Compliance replaces complacency – operational resilience and cyber risk will come to the fore.
“The past five years have brought an exciting period of innovation to the insurance industry, driven in large part by the influence of insurtechs. Risk mitigation, however, has lagged behind the innovation that created it, caused by a natural bias to optimism. Regulators around the world are increasingly concerned about risk mitigation, with a particular focus on cyber risk and operational resilience and are acting to “focus the minds” of insurers on this topic. More developed examples include the EU’s DORA or Australia’s APRA CPS230, both of which have commencement dates in 2025. 2024 will be the year when the optimism fades, and insurers push to ensure readiness and compliance. Over the next 36 months these two topics will play a role in sorting the winners from the losers.”
Joshua Motta, CEO and co-founder of Coalition
In 2024, cyber risks will become even more complex as attackers get savvier with the help of artificial intelligence. “Ransomware has become easier to deploy at scale, and phishing scams have become more sophisticated and harder to detect. New threat types also increase organisations’ risk, like weaknesses in everyday internet-connected devices (IoT).
The good news is that technology will also help us fight these emerging risks better next year. The tools we use to predict and analyse these digital threats are improving, and more organisations are seriously strengthening their security defences. Leading cyber insurers are now incentivising and requiring more robust security measures from their policyholders and recognising the importance of active protection that helps organisations consistently improve their security postures.”
4) EARLY ADOPTERS WILL FOCUS ON ENERGY TRANSITION
Tim Turner, Group Head of MAP Risks, Beazley
“A fifth (22%) of global business executives were focused on energy transition risk in our Risk & Resilience research in 2023, yet just 9% predicted this risk would be a significant concern next year. While progress is being made towards realising longer-term goals of weaning economies and industries off their reliance on fossil fuels, it would be premature to suggest that the risk of failing to do so has been mitigated. For industries such as marine, the scale of the long-term energy transition challenge means these early adopters focused on transition require the support of the insurance sector. Progress will be incremental and the innovations required to enable mariners and other industries to meet their 2050 energy transition goal will require active engagement from insurers in 2024. Securing short-term solutions such as logistics and digitisation efficiencies remains, understandably, the focus in 2024 for most but this is increasingly moving towards a longer-term transition.”
5) GENERATIVE AI TRANSFORMATION IN 2024
David Lynch, Group Chief Technology Officer, bolttech
Generative AI will revolutionise insurance customer experience in 2024. “With the explosion of interest in Generative AI, exemplified by the launch of ChatGPT and the wider availability of proprietary and open source LLMs, use cases for this technology have emerged rapidly. Customer service is one of the most widely discussed domains, with Generative AI predicted to improve almost all aspects of a customer’s journey. Generative AI is set to change the way customers interact with insurance and protection, redirecting away from static policies and renewals, towards greater interaction, education, nudges and real-time suggestions and support, built off deep specialist training in each product vertical or risk domain.”
Neil Spector, President, Underwriting Solutions, Verisk
Generative AI will address industry knowledge gaps. “As the baby boomer generation retires from the workforce, they leave behind a gap in historical expertise and knowledge of the insurance industry. While new workers are ramping up to meet the growing need, resources are strained, and many are being asked to do more with less. To confront this void – or “brain drain” – of critical industry information in 2024, insurers will need to evolve their business practices.
“One way they can do this is through the exploration and responsible use of new technology like generative AI: not only can this technology help to capture industry knowledge from those retiring from the industry, it can also fulfil insurers’ need to improve operational efficiency. We’re already seeing the benefit of gen AI in various workstreams across the insurance ecosystem, and we see accelerated adoption of responsible and explainable applications in 2024. Insurers will find data-driven technologies like machine learning and generative AI to be crucial tools in building on the strong foundation soon-to-be retirees have created, while setting them up for continued success into next year and beyond.”
Roi Amir, CEO, Sprout.ai
Generative AI will transition from hype to solution status. “Generative AI will continue to be a focus for the insurance industry in 2024. We will start to see the transition from hype and AI being viewed as a magic solution to all problems to a real, in production solution to some very specific problems. Some of the key hotspots will be marketing, customer service and claims management and automation.
“There is the potential for a rise in fraudsters using generative AI as a tool to fake evidence in a convincing way. As more sophisticated tools fall into their hands, we will see the development of tools that can identify such in an effective way.
“We will inevitably see the creation of insurance products and policies that handle the cyber security risks created by AI. With an increase in the role of generative AI throughout businesses, companies will need to ensure they are mitigating the chance of mistakes made by AI or its implementation.”
6) EMBEDDED SOLUTIONS WILL BE AT THE CORE OF BUSINESS PROPOSITIONS
Zina Wendlandt, Vice President Strategic Partnerships – Business Services, EMEA, Cover Genius
“According to the European Commission, consumer confidence still scores well below its long-term average. Consumers expect more from the businesses they deal with everyday, from their retailers to their travel providers to their banks. They want more bang for their buck and will look for ways to protect their investments. Enter, embedded protection! We can see that insurance and protection will go hand in hand with core business propositions. With new consumer duty regulations across the EU, brands must heavily invest, care and respond to their customer needs. Insurance is a large component to this because they inadvertently add value to help protect customers.”
7) CLIMATE CHANGE WILL CONTINUE TO IMPACT THE PROPERTY MARKET
Richard Montminy, Global Head of Property Risks, Beazley
“The days of the “secondary” perils, such as hail, tornado, floods, wildfires etc. are quickly ending. Increasingly, such risks are joining the ranks of the key “primary” perils, such as hurricanes, named storms and earthquakes, as extreme weather conditions continue to be more frequent and severe. While exposure changes and inflation have played a significant role in driving losses up this year, there is no denying that climate change is also a key driver of this upward loss trend. The situation is reflected in our Risk & Resilience research with 28% of global business leaders we surveyed predicting that climate change will be the biggest environmental risk they face in 2024, up from 18% at the beginning of 2023.
“Looking to 2024 we expect the impact of natural catastrophes to continue to change the property insurance landscape. As the property risk shifts from being commoditised to specialised, we anticipate further market consolidation and continued withdrawals from segments of the property market. The insurers that remain, and continue to underwrite profitably, will strengthen their pricing, underwriting tools and catastrophe modelling, and focus on upskilling underwriting experts in the art of anticipating the unforeseen.”
Author: Joanna England