Overview: A lot of things have changed in the last year or so. Masks are commonplace. Shaking hands has fallen out of favor. And more and more people are relying on at-home work, nontraditional jobs, the sharing economy, and internet-enabled devices. These last changes are of interest not just to the general public, but to insurance agents and agencies specifically. Read on to find out how you’re likely to be affected by these trends.
Working From Home
It’s easy to understand why more and more people are working from home right now; COVID-19 sent them home. But did you realize that working from home had been on an upward trend anyway? Even after the virus passes, many people are likely to remain at home to work.
That may mean that they’ll have new insurance needs. It’s easy for employees to assume that they’re covered under their employer’s insurance policy no matter where they are, but that may not be the case.
Employees may need to change their home insurance coverage to include work-at-home activities, and employers may also need to review their insurance and change their liability policy to make sure that issues relating to employees at home are covered. So, whether your clients work from home or employ remote workers, you should suggest they review their coverage.
At-home work, as well as remote work and even on-site work, is not always done by regular employees. In fact, the number of people who are opting out of the regular workforce to contract or freelance or who are leaving the workforce altogether to do gig work is growing.
And as usual, laws and insurance trends have not necessarily kept up with this societal change. Gig workers may not be covered under the same policies that cover “permanent” workers, but they still need to be protected. As with work-at-home workers, both the worker and the employer may need to adjust their coverage to fill the gaps.
The Sharing Economy
In a related economic change, some people are moving to make ends meet by renting out a car or a room in their home. The market is growing for this type of “sharing” because it helps people stretch their dollars. But these temporary arrangements are automatically covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy.
Airbnb, for example, suggests their own host protection policy and guarantee to help protect hosts. However, they note that these programs do not necessarily cover everything and that homeowners might also want to adjust their homeowners’ insurance policies to reflect the change in usage. A standard policy probably won’t cover short-term tenants the way it might cover full-time residents and guests.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The internet is no longer something you access only from your computer or your phone. Today, your watch can be connected to the internet. Or your refrigerator. Or, of more interest to insurance companies, your home alarm system or a device in your car.
This may translate to good news for both clients and insurers. It’s becoming common to offer discounts for home security alarms or devices that can measure a person’s driving habits and adjust their premiums accordingly.
This allows insurers to make better coverage decisions and the insured to save money by being cautious. But insurers who haven’t started finding ways to incorporate IoT into their policies may want to start doing so because customers are coming to expect this level of personalization.
Are You Prepared?
There’s no question that as technology enables large-scale changes in how we live and work, insurance agencies need to change with it. To find out more about how your insurance agency can keep up with changing trends, contact us today.