If the concept of insurance conjures up images of nerdy agents surrounded by paper, I've got awesome news for you: That's totally not the modern insurance reality. Just as technology enables Elon Musk to whip out some "everyday" space suits, it's also creating a way of creating and managing insurance offerings that are decidedly sleek and millennial friendly.

Decades of experience blends with contemporary digital life

One of the players steering the charge toward an insurance upgrade is Traffk, touting themselves as a modern insurance underwriting & risk management platform. How? Their SaaS platform uses sophisticated data science and machine learning to pull together and analyze insurance-related insights. The cloud-based software means that agents can look both more broadly and more deeply into the information that's out there, which translates to more effective and efficient risk assessment and underwriting processes.

What it means for you (and insurance companies)

First, you can say goodbye to those GEICO commercials. Just kidding. In actuality, for the consumer (including businesses), tech-oriented approaches to insurance that go beyond the standards like paperless offices can bring lower premiums. This can happen initially because of the improved risk assessment and efficiency, but also over time as the insurance companies offer loyalty discounts.

From the insurance company's standpoint, combining decades of industry experience with this type of platform can mean that it's easier to come up with customized solutions customers really feel satisfied with. Satisfaction usually directly correlates to retention, so insurance companies that get on board can stay more stable over time. The efficiency and accuracy also can allow companies to take on a larger customer base than they otherwise would be able to.

A challenge with big payoff

There are, of course, some hurdles to get more insurance companies on board. As discussed in The Record, for example, transitioning to a more modern platform worries many insurers because they need to ensure minimal operational disruption, consider the IT impact and assess costs. But the scalability and responsiveness a SaaS model provides means the growing pains likely will be worth it.

However, Paul Ford, CEO of Traffk sees the clear opportunity.

"The world is getting smarter because of data. Retail harnesses data and insights to compete, win customers, deliver personalized experiences. Hospitality does the same. Insurance has been the laggard. When tools, platforms, data science and data infused processes converge in insurance, the same can be done as in other industries.

Insurance companies leave Obamacare exchanges because they cannot harness data fast enough to understand the consumer and the risk they bring. Big data is ok, but smart data applied to insurance business process like underwriting is where we all win."

Sounds like an inevitable change to me. Hopefully, it's the type that benefits our collective pockets.

Published on: Aug 30, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.