Many insurance companies have been in business forhundreds of years. Their brands are often household names and evokea sense of tradition consistent with their long histories. However,the ways in which insurance products are designed, advertised,underwritten, sold, and administered are undergoing rapidchange—the business of insurance, like almost every other majorindustry, is increasingly a high-tech venture. The impact of thesehigh-tech changes on the global economy, including the use ofartificial intelligence (AI), big data, the internet of things,augmented reality, and robotics, has been hailed by some as the“Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

This coming revolution is conspicuous in some industries.Self-driving cars are already navigating publicstreets in California; our homes are becoming populated withinternet-connected devices like the Nest, the Amazon Echo, and smart TVs; and, of course, our trusty smartphones areincreasingly integrated into every minute of our professional,personal, and social lives.

While its effects are perhaps not as conspicuous as with someother industries, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing theinsurance industry, too. Major insurancecompanies now have an information conduit into your living roomthrough Amazon Echo “skills” (i.e., software akin to smartphoneapps). Insurers or other third parties have an information conduitinto your car when on-board computers, OBD-IIdongles, or your smartphone collect telematics informationabout your driving habits. And, with their fintech partners,insurers literally have their finger on the pulse of insureds whenthey collect biometric information through Fitbits and otherwearable devices.

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