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June 2, 2014

How the Glass Could Revolutionize the Business of Insurance

Posted by Ravi Kumar S. (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:19 AM

A quick look into the world of Google Glass [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xR3ZW-AdM4]

There's a wonderful saying that some attribute to Shakespeare himself: "The eyes are the window to the soul."

Funny how today's technology can turn this quote on its head: "Digital" eyes are becoming the window to real-time events that anyone, anywhere can observe - so long as they have an Internet connection, of course. Of the many exciting digital eyes (that is, wearable computing platforms) that involve eyeglasses, none is receiving more attention than Google Glass. One of the many industries that the Glass stands to revolutionize is the insurance business.

If there's one thing that most people would agree about the insurance sector, it's that it's extremely conservative and wary of change, especially when the change in question involves technology. So the fact that insurance executives are looking to Google Glass as a way to reduce costs, boost productivity, and improve mobility is promising indeed.

Look at the auto insurance realm alone, wearables have many potential uses. On the consumer end, the Glass can capture the details of a fender-bender immediately after it happens. Plus, consumers can use the Glass to exchange insurance information - something that's still usually done with a pad and pencil! Because the Glass can record what happens moments after the accident, the digital record means that fewer human investigations into the incident are needed. Verification happens minutes after impact, so to speak.

A wearable also give the insurance company higher quality information. Just think how better integration could result in more information being available across devices. An accelerometer, for example, can display what the speed of the car was as well as its general direction. This sort of claim submission would become an extremely smooth experience for a customer in distress.

If insurance executives accept these innovations, their consumers will no doubt be impressed by their willingness to improve their services. This will also help differentiate them in a traditional industry.

There are even more possibilities in the longer term. These involve actually altering the behavior and lifestyle of policyholders. Think back to when smoking cigarettes was not seen as anything bad. (Even doctors professed to which cigarette brands they liked to smoke.) But now most people agree that smoking is harmful to health. Along the same lines, a wearable platform would help society form a consensus about speed limits on highways and safety techniques behind the wheel. That would make it easier for insurance companies to offer incentives for safe driving records and actually cut down on road fatalities.

Of course, there still are legitimate hurdles to overcome. One, ironically, is how safe a driver can be if he has a pair of wearables on his head while driving. Ah, the irony! Yet another hurdle involves data privacy and security. Of all the different platforms, none has garnered more criticism as to the potential loss of privacy than the wearable. After all, the eyes are a window to the soul...

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