Opinion | Commercial Insurance Needs to Put More Stock in Technology

By: | April 16, 2019

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]

Those who read my columns know that I am an optimist. I see humanity as a work in progress.

Same for our practices and systems.

I am not an especially technical person, which will make those who know me laugh at my next sentence. But I really do believe technology will be the salvation of commercial insurance.

How so? First, I am buying into the premise that artificial intelligence and machine learning will advance underwriting to the point that as Baby Boomers retire, more and more of the underwriting load can be undertaken by machines.

We write a lot about big-ticket commercial insurance. We write less about small business.


Insurance carriers, though, crave small business premium income. They question how they can get more of it. Well, technology will get them there.

Using predictive analytics and web platforms that allow small business owners to easily access and bind the coverage they need is the way forward. It will take a while, but when commercial insurance pulls this off, it’s going to open up substantial new markets.

Technology is also assisting in loss control. Sensors that detect dangerous situations in fleet operation, mining and construction will pay off. They might not be perfected yet, but aided by these sensors, the hope that insurance can become a science of “predict and prevent” rather than “repair and reimburse” is not an empty one.

Change brought about by technology can be fierce and merciless. Just ask the thousands of small business owners driven out of business first by big-box retail and then by Amazon.

But commercial insurance and technology were made for each other. They just don’t know how well yet. &

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]