5G has the potential to be a revolutionary force; boosting the economy, increasing connectivity and changing the way we communicate. Dan Rosenberg, Executive Vice President of Qualcomm, stated at the World Economic Forum that
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“5G will impact every industry – autos, healthcare, manufacturing and distribution, emergency services, just to name a few. And 5G is purposely designed so that these industries can take advantage of cellular connectivity in ways that wouldn’t have been possible before, and to scale upward as use of 5G expands”1.

In fact, unlike 3G or 4G, it could have the same impact as the introduction of computers, the internet or cars. In this article, we take a look at the effect 5G will have with a specific focus on the insurance world.

5G aims to increase data speeds by up to three times more than the current standard, 4G2. It is unclear how much faster this will make 5G, with reports stating anywhere from 10x to 20x faster. Speeds will be dependent on your location and service provider, but regardless users can expect a large jump in their data speeds. This will mean faster downloads and streaming, and increased capability for digital services which would have needed desktop computer support to use previously.

One positive aspect is the amount of jobs that 5G could generate – estimated by IHS Markit and Research Group as 22 million globally3. Another key area for users – and insurers – is the streamlining of the Internet of Things (IoT). Faster speeds may allow your devices to speak to each other more effectively, for example your oven could remind you that it’s been left on and send a push notification to turn it off. It could even alert your insurer in the event of a fire and capture vital information such as photos to speed up the claims process.

5G is expected to allow users, including insurers, to track shipments in real time which could potentially transform how we assess commercial and marine insurance. The healthcare industry is set to see improved data sharing between healthcare providers, fitness and medical trackers, patients and health insurers. The reduced cost and increased reliability should lead to more accurate health and life insurance quotes and open up the option for positive reinforcement policies; which could reduce your premium if you maintain a certain level of activity or fitness.

Car insurance could also be transformed with autonomous or semi-driverless cars generating real-time data and reports following an accident or crash, which will allow insurers to investigate faster and resolve claims in a timelier manner.

Overall, the more information we have the more easily we will be able to calculate risk and help prevent claims – the cornerstone of our industry. For insurers, 5G can help us to do our jobs with more certainty and more effectively than ever before. As a consequence of this we can expect to see reduced insurance rates (due to lower numbers of claims), as well as faster transactions and approvals.

It is unlikely however that we will see 5G in Europe until 2020, and it is also unlikely to become widespread until 2022 as the technology is not quite ready yet. Success is dependent on the take up of the IoT which has been slow but is certainly gaining traction. Even when it is up and running most people will be required to purchase a new phone to benefit from the new speeds. For now, insurers should be preparing to take stock of their existing models and assessing how they can adapt to make the most of this new technology.

To find out more about 5G and how it can benefit your business please get in touch with your usual Gallagher representative.

Sources:

  1. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/the-world-is-about-to-become-even-more-interconnected-here-s-how/
  2. http://insurancethoughtleadership.com/why-5g-will-rock-the-insurance-world/
  3. https://innovator.news/how-5g-will-impact-countries-cities-and-companies-e00539e5462?gi=a0fac2b58d3a
  4. https://personal.hsbc.co.uk/wealth/insights/insights-briefs/does-5G-have-a-use/