**This post is co-authored by Roy Goodart and Mary Heimlich**
Wow, 2017 was a roller coaster ride for the insurance industry. The market was up sharply, yet interest rates remained slow; tons of money poured into new InsurTech ideas; and, we all thought that DOL was going to wreck havoc across the board … oh wait, it did, just not in the way we expected.
InsurTech is arguably the top star this year no matter which part of the industry you represent. According to Insurance Journal, funding for InsurTech topped $1 Billion (that's right folks-that's with a capital “B”). This money is coming from big players too, think companies like Allianz Ventures, Munich Re, HSB Ventures, and Nationwide Ventures. No wonder we see new events like InsurTech Connect in Las Vegas drawing more than 3,000 attendees to Vegas this past October.
So with all of this money, what can we expect coming out of insurance carriers over the next few years? Well, for starters, a much better consumer experience. Carriers are looking at ways to support their consumers by making it easy to buy insurance products and provide better service after the sale has been made. This includes programs that combine gamification, smart watches and fitness to drive down insurance premiums and provide prizes for consumers who participate. You can learn more about John Hancock's innovative Vitality Program here. We will also be seeing a lot more money being spent on supporting social media, and the use of big data to help insurance companies sell more directly to consumers and provide better leads to their agent and producer base.
The fate of The Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule caused uncertainty among the industry throughout the entire year, with companies not knowing if there would be a delay or if the rule would be implemented as written. In the end, many companies put their planned compliance measures in place, even with the partial implementation in June and the further delay finalized before year end. But, we are not done yet, folks. Only time will tell what the end result will look like. But, there is one thing that is certain: The additional focus on consumer protection and full transparency is here to stay.
We’re finally seeing great momentum with respect to innovation and to the speed at which we are moving in the industry. We hope to see this continue in 2018 and beyond. Happy New Year from all of us at IFS!