3 key insights from Dig|In: The Digital Future of Insurance

June 11, 2019


Dig|In’s digital insurance conference is turning into one of the hottest insurance events of the year. Over 2,500 attendees from the largest insurers and insurtech leaders descended on Austin, TX to hear the latest thinking on digital insurance. Insurers like Travelers, USAA, and Farmers shared their perspectives on the future of autonomous vehicles, connected cars, and claims. Tech powerhouses like Apple, Salesforce, and IBM spoke on the power of big data, a unified customer experience, and building products you love. We were excited to join our friends from Intact, Canada’s largest insurer, to present our vision for the future of claims.

It’s great listening to industry leaders talk about the biggest trends in the market. You get a sense of where the industry is heading over the next few years. So where did leaders at Dig|In say insurance is going? Over the course of four days and hundreds of speakers, three key themes emerged.


Many speakers talked about the need to make claims better. After all, it’s the moment of truth in insurance. Not surprisingly, many companies are trying to make the process more seamless both for customers and for insurers. The missing link is crash data.

For example, both Salesforce and CCC have built apps to collect First Notice of Loss data.  The process for the Salesforce app is entirely manual for the user – they need to type in all the FNOL data. Once populated, it powers a backend experience for the insurer that spans across the customer lifecycle. 

CCC has a similar app called Accident Advisor, which it developed with Volvo. Accident Advisor can ingest crash data from connected cars to populate the necessary FNOL fields. However, most users on the platform today don’t have telematics. They’re sent a link to click through to complete the FNOL process.

Both apps have a heavy focus on capturing the right images of the crash scene and the damaged vehicle – people have been doing this for some time, but haven’t been taking the right photos. With the right images, insurers can more accurately price damage to the vehicle.

In an on-stage interview, Farmers’ Natalie Kaschalk talked about their partnership with CCC and Volvo to collect crash data with Accident Advisor. Farmers’ goal with the partnership is to help customers in a time of need and to onboard them to FNOL. The challenge that any insurer faces with user experience is connecting their core policyholder app with facilitating a claim – getting telematics data to power the FNOL flow in the core app. The CCC and Volvo partnership gives Farmers a good opportunity to test how this flow might work in a separate app.

Beyond collecting FNOL data, Farmers wants to use crash data to help identify if there’s been a serious injury, so they can get experts involved right away. They’re also looking at how crash data can help prevent fraud by providing objective data like when and where a crash happened. The data can help them ask deeper questions about a claim.

With all its potential, crash data at scale will unlock the next generation of auto insurance. The biggest hurdle today is for insurers to get the crash data itself.


Connected cars are computers with wheels. They’re so complex that Farmers reports that people are turning off safety features because they don’t know how to use the technology. The sensors make connected cars incredibly difficult to repair – only an expert can do it. There may not be enough of them to keep up with demand.

The car manufacturers know this and are turning to telematics and UBI to incentivize connected car purchases. A connected car owner can increase the ROI on their purchase by saving money on car insurance – if they’re a safe driver. They can also get roadside assistance.

What about providing driving data at scale to insurers? Mitsubishi and Nissan highlighted the challenge of creating a common data exchange for the connected car – do all the OEMs get on the exchange first and start providing data, or do insurers jump in and wait for the data to come? It’s a chicken vs. egg challenge.

From the insurer’s point of view, connected cars offer a fountain of opportunity one drop at a time. Volvo’s and CCC’s Accident Advisor partnership for crash data was announced nearly a month ago. Farmers is still waiting to see its first crash from the program.

In his keynote, Travelers’ Michael Klein said never bet against technology. The connected car offers an amazing opportunity to collect driving data. As the challenges above show, it will take years if not decades to get there. The smartphone has 4 billion users worldwide today. 91% of Americans own one. With their powerful sensors combined with machine learning, they can capture and identify crash data at scale today.


The traditional insurance customer lifecycle was a product of the last century. It goes like this: You pay us. We’ll pay you back if something goes wrong. As a result, a customer interacts with their insurer 1-2 times per year. On average, a customer thinks about their insurer 9 minutes per year.

But, out with the old. In with the new. Salesforce calls the new insurance customer lifecycle “activated insurance.” Activated insurance helps you prevent bad things from happening. In this model, the insurer becomes a partner with the customer. It uses behavioral and contextual data powered by smartphones to help customers make better-informed decisions and develop safer habits. 

In auto insurance, there are Try-Before-You-Buy programs that focus on making drivers safer. Italy’s largest insurer, Unipol, launched a Try-Before-You-Buy program with its direct line Linear using TrueMotion technology.  It’s smartphone-only, so any Italian can use it, and it rewards safe drivers with Amazon gift cards.

In our presentation at Dig|In, Intact spoke about the importance of being proactive after a customer has been in an accident. The crash detection algorithm in their core app will tell them when a customer has been in an accident. They’ll be able to proactively reach out to the customer to help them. In their words, they want to be waiting for the customer at the mechanic with cookies and milk.

Beyond being a trusted partner, insurers need to be available to their customers around the clock. 9:00 – 5:00 no longer cuts it. And, they need to be able to communicate with customers the way they want – SMS, bot, email, phone, etc. Snapsheet made the point clear: 37% of people respond to a phone call. 80% respond to a text within 15 minutes.

Did you attend Dig|In? What other themes did you see emerge throughout the conference? Hit us up on chat and let us know.

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