US GAO Report – Insurance Markets: Benefits and Challenges Presented by Innovative Uses of Technology

By Government Accountablity Office

The innovative use of technology by insurance companies (“Insurtech”) is growing and offers the potential to improve customer experiences while also lowering insurer costs. Some stakeholders have raised questions about how certain uses of insurtech could create both risks for consumers and challenges for regulators, and whether some challenges might slow technological innovation in the insurance sector. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) was asked to provide information on insurtech activities in the property/casualty and life insurance sectors. The report (1) identifies new uses of technologies and potential benefits and challenges for insurers and their customers; and (2) discusses what stakeholders identified as key challenges that could affect the adoption of new technologies, and actions taken to address those challenges. GAO reviewed available literature; analyzed relevant laws and regulations; and conducted interviews with more than 35 stakeholders, including federal and state regulators, technology companies, insurers, and consumer groups.

The report revealed that insurtech companies (recently established companies bringing technology-enabled innovations to the insurance industry) as well as established insurers have begun to use technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and mobile applications, in an attempt to improve risk assessment and enhance customer experiences. However, implementing these technologies can create potential challenges for insurers and risks for consumers. Stakeholders with whom GAO spoke identified challenges they said might affect adoption of innovative technologies. These include paper-based documentation requirements that do not accommodate online insurance transactions, and challenges for regulators in the evaluation of complex rating models. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and state regulators have initiated a number of actions designed to address such concerns.

Read the full report here.

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