Technology may be paving the way for non-traditional providers such as Google to enter the insurance industry, according to a new survey.
Consulting company Capgemini said 40% of the insurers it surveyed for its World Insurance Report see Google as the biggest new entrant threat because of its strong brand and ability to use customer data, beating other household names such as Amazon and Wal-Mart Stores.
The report noted that Internet of Things technologies are expected to transform traditional insurance business models, with the data provided by connected devices, smart ecosystems, and wearables increasing risk transparency, but insurers are significantly underestimating the degree to which connected technologies will be broadly adopted.
Only 16% of insurers, for example, think customers will embrace driverless cars, according to the Capgemini survey.
Capgemini also found that young, mobile phone-friendly consumers may bypass traditional insurers for “new, more nimble” competitors. Only 34% of customers below the age of 35 reported positive experiences with their insurers, compared with 55% of over 35s.
“By not providing adequate engagement for digitally-advanced customers, carriers run the risk of pushing them toward a growing population of market entrants and non-traditional technology-driven competitors,” John Mullen, corporate vice president and global insurance leader for Capgemini, said in a news release.
Google already owns connected home products maker Nest, which could act as a springboard to providing insurance, Capgemini said.
But according to Reuters, some insurance industry specialists doubt that tech companies will enter the heavily-regulated insurance sector directly, seeing them as more likely to form partnerships with insurers. In the U.S., Liberty Mutual already offers insurance discounts for Nest users.
“Google will not become an insurance underwriter,” Nigel Walsh, head of U.K. insurance at Capgemini, said. But with products such as Nest, he added, “they are a massive part of the insurance value chain, because of what they know about consumers.”