We are in the middle of the 4th industrial revolution, as Sabrina Hartusch, President of SIRM and Global Head of Insurance for Triumph International Holding pointed out, and it is touching all of our lives and our careers. As she said, Albert Einstein warned us about artificial intelligence and today it is still seen equally as a risk and a great opportunity for humanity.
Shawn DuBravac, Chief Economist for the Consumer Technical Association and a global futurist and trendcaster, gave an overview of revolutionary innovations that had shaken up the industrial world. He reminded us that in 1844 we were told that everything that could be invented had been invented. Then, in 1890, the first tabulator was produced. It took until 1956 until the first IBM computer saw the light. In 2001, the Apple iPod was sold, and the digital era took off.
He said that only when a new invention becomes widely deployed, does it start creating ripple effects that spill over into different categories. Today, we digitise our physical space, collect all the information, manipulate it and connect it to diverse systems, which in turn triggers other responses. Think of your smartphone with two sensors allowing you to take a selfie. Who might have thought that taking selfies would kill more people a year than shark attacks, asked Shawn DuBravac?
The effects of these very fast changes are reflected in the changing risk landscape. It is therefore essential to monitor risks continuously and to shift from the “point in time” to “real time” monitoring.
All these rapid changes lead to ever greater opportunities, with new jobs in a more and more dynamic environment, which can achieve spectacular growth in a very short period. This was illustrated by Maurizio Micale, Corporate ERM & Insurance Management Director of STMicroelectronics producing semi-conductors. The day that autonomous cars will drive us to work lies just around the corner, he said.
This obviously needs a whole new approach from insurers and loss adjusters looking at the liability question on the one hand, and at how to collect and treat the data needed to lead to more safety and better service, on the other hand.
Shawn DuBravac said new tools will need to be developed to “unbundle” risks and customise them. Clients will have to adapt their behavior to the new developments, and service providers will need to create innovative ways to collect data. Tangible assets have shifted to intangible assets; tangible risks have shifted towards intangible risks. Adapted regulations and legislation and a new type of coverage are needed.
According to Sabrina Hartusch, it is clear that the role of the insurer, the loss-adjuster, the risk manager and all parties involved will further evolve. Transparency, a collaborative approach and a more fluid environment are prerequisites for success.
So, is this 4th industrial revolution a blessing or a curse? The answer is “yes”.