Banks and insurance companies have relied on the same business models for decades. Technology has affected the industry in a few ways, such as computer spreadsheets replacing paper ones. However, the rate of change in IT and customer expectations are driving massive change in the financial industry. For example, we’re seeing mobile payments websites and peer to peer lending websites hitting the mainstream and becoming a viable alternative. Here are four ways technology is transforming financial services.
The Rise of Alternative Lending Arrangements
While many people still apply for a home loan or credit card from their bank, you have far more options than were available just a few years ago. You can refinance your debt or get funding for a new venture via a loan through a crowdfunding site. The internet also makes it possible to apply for loans with alternative lenders.
For example, you can now easily access bad credit loans online through direct lenders and brokers. Some even offer both sources of capital through a single portal or app. The application can be approved in hours or even minutes, and the money could be in your bank just as quickly.
Or you can simply ask for donations to pay for expenses. This is true whether you’ve suffered a tragedy or are seeking money for your new business venture. In the latter case, you might incentivise the donors by offering them one of the first working prototypes off the production line or just give them branded swag.
The Impact on Insurance
The insurance world has started to change in the face of decentralization, and the consumer market is also evolving. For example, people serving ride-sharing app customers can buy insurance by the kilometre to have commercial vehicle insurance only when they have a paying fare. Insurance is having to adapt to provide coverage for other services offered through the sharing economy like renting out your house for the weekend via a rental site.
On the flipside, advanced sensors and smart tech allow for closer monitoring of assets and actual risk. Car insurance companies are starting to offer insurance based on your actual driving habits. A device plugged into the car tracks how hard you accelerate and brake and where and when you drive. This can reduce your insurance rates if you’re a safe driver, and the data it collects may be invaluable in defending you in an accident claim. Other devices track the location of vehicles, allowing trucks and cars to be recovered as soon as they’re reported missing.
Health insurance companies are asking people to track health and workout data via wearable computers. Wearable sensors can report when someone has passed out from heatstroke or a head injury. Insurance companies incentivise the adoption of this technology to reduce the risk of having to make payments.
The Impact of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is affecting everything from rapid A/B testing of marketing content to providing smart search engine results. It is being used to mine social media comments to read social sentiment in real-time. It has led to robo-advisors offering financial advice to clients of major investment firms and monitoring of financial data for small advisors. It is being used to streamline infrastructure, connect buyers and sellers and monitor for fraud.
Technology is revolutionizing every aspect of the financial world. It doesn’t just alter how we interact with institutions or streamline back-office processes. It has opened up the financial and insurance market to new players and resulting in brand new services to meet customer needs and wants.