In an age where data is a valuable commodity, and consumers (and businesses alike) are aware of it's value, it is increasingly important for businesses to challenge themselves on what can I offer in return for data assets?

Gone are the days where data was being offered up unwittingly. Consumers and businesses now check the small print and T&Cs on how their data is handled, stored and leveraged for other purposes. The increase of cyber-crime has made the average person increasingly aware and concerned about how sharing data can be used maliciously.

It is fair to say customers, whether B2B or B2C, have a greater reluctance to part with their data. This challenge is compounded further in Insurance, by the simple fact that customer interaction is infrequent and tends to be limited to a small set of activities relating to sales, renewals or claims.

This article by is interesting not only for how it encapsulates the benefits of increased customer engagement and data capture in insurance, but also because it provides an overview of some of the applications that are being created by insurance companies to offer both insurance and non-insurance services to customers to increase customer contact and encourage them to part with their data.

Although there are many bright minds in both technology and insurance, without products and services that clearly reward customers for handing over their prized data, the chances of successfully extracting good data that can provide an insurer with a competitive edge is limited.

We must remind ourselves that technology is an enabler not an answer. It is increasingly apparent that the insurance sector understands the benefits to the insurer through leveraging technology, but it is still working out how to use this technology to create (and more importantly manage) new products that would offer value to customers and increase the levels of engagement. 

Although some of the applications showcased in this article are creative, the true innovation and game changing is when technology is utilised to successfully deliver new (and previously unavailable) products like peer-to-peer insurance, day-based or consumption-based insurance, dynamic premiums using IoT, crowd-funding for commercial risks (or reinsurance) etc. It will be this form of true innovation within the Insurance market that will offer customers something different and encourage them to use new technology enabled products and services; leading to a different engagement model with insurers and an incentive for customers to offer up their data in return.