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Pricing and telematics lead the charge as insurtech patents jump 40pc
Written by Deborah Ritchie
The number on insurance-related patents filed worldwide jumped 40% last year, to 917 in 2017 (to Dec 31) from 657 in 2016, according to law firm RPC. Pricing and telematics were most in focus as insurers seek to make cost analysis and risk modelling more accurate. Sharp increases were also seen in patents relating to machine learning and P2P.
RPC says that insurance patents filed last year were for innovations as diverse as the use of a system that checks whether a self-driving car is operating autonomously and switches between insurance policies automatically, and a mobile app to speed up the claims process for people affected by natural disasters.
The most frequent filers of insurance-related patents last year included Allstate Insurance and State Farm, two leading American insurers who filed 35 and 34 insurance patents respectively, and Ping An Insurance of China, who filed 23 patents. Other active filers of insurtech patents outside of traditional insurers include Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, which filed eight patents last year.
Partner at the law firm Paul Joseph, comments: “The rising number of insurtech patents shows just how important technology now is to insurers in increasing efficiency, delivering a better user experience and developing brand new products.”
“Insurtech is touching all areas of the market from P2P retail insurance products to ever more sophisticated risk analysis capabilities.”
“Whether insurers are engaging in proprietary R&D or collaborating with smaller players, protecting intellectual property (IP) rights by securing patents is clearly essential to secure that first mover advantage and stay ahead of the competition,” Joseph added.
Insurtech patents on the rise (Source: RPC)
• 22% (199) of insurance patents filed in 2017 related to pricing, as businesses looked for new ways to make pricing premiums and determining risk more accurate and efficient.
• 78 telematics-related patents were filed in 2017, up from 56 the previous year.
• Patents related to machine learning increased to 100 in 2017, up from 73 the previous year.
• Peer to peer-related insurance patents also saw an increase to 62 in 2017 from 52 in 2016. P2P insurance is where a group of individual policyholders can pool their premiums together to insure against a risk, typically via an online marketplace, helping to cut costs by reducing overheads and inefficiencies.
• Filings per annum have jumped by 116% over 5 years from just 435 in 2013.