With the 2017 BIBA Conference just a week away, I am very much looking forward to heading to Manchester where there will be plenty of opportunities to connect with many of our broker partners. I’ll also be looking forward to exploring this year’s conference theme ‘Connections’, a topic which really could not be more relevant to the insurance sector right now.
If you believe the hype, the world is changing, with technology bringing everything from internet connected toasters to drone deliveries and driverless cars. But, as this introduces a unique set of risks, our connections, both within the insurance sector and beyond, will be essential to support this exciting new world.
Just one example of this is the sharing economy, where insurance has played an integral part in its development. When peer-to-peer platforms such as Airbnb launched, their popularity grew on the back of trust. But, as tales of trashed apartments and hacked accounts surfaced, this trust had to be supplemented with insurance.
Understanding how new platforms operate and the needs of the users has enabled insurers to develop a variety of innovative insurance solutions for the sharing economy. As well as pay-as you go insurance, allowing sharers to take out cover specifically for the rental period, insurers have also developed products to protect sharing platforms, providing for instance a package of buildings, contents and public liability cover for property shares.
Our partnership with peer-to-peer rental marketplace RideLink is a prime example of this approach. While the availability of tailored insurance gives users reassurance, product features such as a £750 excess help to encourage more responsible driving.
New concepts are emerging too. On-demand insurance applications allow users to create a digital inventory of their valuable possessions, turning cover on and off as required.
But insurance is only half the solution. As more members of the public become involved in the sharing economy, whether renting out a hut in the garden, sharing lifts in their car or lending out their lawn mower, it's essential they understand the risks and how these affect their insurance.
Brokers play a key role in this education process. By acting as the connection between their clients and the insurance market they provide the reassurance that the right cover is in place. This in turn supports the future growth of the sharing economy and the benefits it offers.
And, with the sharing economy forecast to be worth a cool $335bn by 2025, establishing these connections between insurers, brokers and their clients, but also with the companies involved in these new ventures, will enable us to manage the risks and rewards associated with this growing sector.
For both insurers and brokers, being connected extends our abilities and our horizons. On our agenda at BIBA Conference is sharing our knowledge, expertise and skills with brokers to help them meet their customers’ needs now and in the future. We are looking forward to demonstrating how the experience of our people and the Allianz Group connects to build the most customer-focused and technically advanced trading business in the UK insurance industry.