What does one of the most successful venture capital (VC) firms think is a smart investment for 2015 and beyond? Insurance.
That’s right, the team at Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most influential and successful group of investors, listed insurance as one of the 16 tech trends its most excited about this year. Andreessen Horowitz team member, Frank Chen, picked insurance because of the way software is changing the industry completely. As Chen puts it:
“Today, our relationship with an insurer revolves mostly around a monthly billing statement sent to us from a mainframe application. You can tell because big chunks of the billing statement are printed in ALL CAPS IN A FIXED WIDTH FONT … the only fonts that existed at the time the applications were written.
How about an insurance company that empowers you to make smart lifestyle decisions? Examples: the car insurance company that routes you around dangerous intersections; the home insurance company that automatically summons a plumber when it detects water on the floor near the water heater; or the health insurance company that connects you with friends that are also trying to lose weight?”
The same could be said for life insurance companies.
Chen also points to the fact that all of this — new data sources, better data, ongoing data reporting — is available now to many companies thanks to mobile phones and other inexpensive tech devices. All great opportunities for traditional insurance companies.
What may be more of a challenge for the industry is Chen’s last point on why he chose insurance as one of the most important tech trends in the world today: crowdsourcing, or the process of obtaining services, ideas or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.
Chen expects to see more crowdsourced insurance companies, which would likely require changes to existing regulations. But as Chen states, “Some of the regulations were designed for a different era. The world has changed. Let’s help the stodgy insurance ecosystem change with it.”
The full list can be found here.