Last year, I moved from the UK to the US. I tried to arrange insurance directly with the brand names I knew best—but it quickly got difficult. I didn’t have a US credit history, I didn’t have a US insurance history, and I’d only just got a US job.

So I realized I needed a broker.

That broker was Michelle, and she worked wonders for me. She got me the covers I needed, at a good price, at the right insurer for my circumstances. She was thoughtful, courteous, and speedy, and I’ve been delighted by her service. As far as I’m concerned, Michelle earned every cent of her commission.

But I never met Michelle. I never even spoke to her. Everything we did, we did by email.

Which got me thinking—how do I know Michelle isn’t an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system?

For the Insurer of the Future, I think she will be. In the future, there’s nothing Michelle did for me that couldn’t be done by a properly trained, and properly connected, machine. In the Insurer of the Future’s world, human brokers won’t be needed any more.

I can guess what many of you are thinking: “Hah! Let’s see how much he likes a remote machine when his basement floods.” And you’re probably right. In those circumstances, I might indeed want someone to come and (metaphorically) hold my hand.

But if my basement floods, and a real person does turn up, and she tells me her name’s Michelle—won’t that give me what I need?

I think so. If I need a real person then I’ll be happy that a real person turns up. They don’t even need to be an agent or broke— the Insurer of the Future’s on-site claims handler will be fine, thank you very much.

Some tell me I might be right for personal lines, but that commercial lines is more complicated. Well yes—a lot more data will typically need to be located, analyzed, and acted upon. But locating, analyzing and acting on data is exactly what machines can usually do better than humans. Which means it’s even more likely that commercial lines brokers will disappear.

Please see Part 11—Risk Placement for further predictions.