According to analysis from global law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC), 2017 saw a 40-per-cent jump in the number of insurtech patents being filed worldwide. RPC found that 917 insurtech patents were filed globally last year, compared with 657 in 2016.
American insurer Allstate Insurance filed the most patents (35), closely followed by State Farm (34), while Ping An Insurance of China was also well represented in the statistics, filing 23 patents. Among the patents filed were a mobile app that promises to make it easier and quicker for people affected by natural disasters to file claims, and a system that checks whether a self-driving car is moving autonomously and automatically switches between the relevant insurance policies. Top trends among patents included telematics (with 78 telematics-related patents filed last year compared with 56 in 2016), peer-to-peer insurance and machine learning.
“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,” said Mark Crichard, Partner at RPC. “Insurtech is touching all areas of the market, from peer-to-peer retail insurance products to ever more sophisticated risk analysis capabilities. Whether engaging in proprietary R&D or collaborating with smaller players, protecting intellectual property rights by securing patents is clearly essential to secure that [insurers have] that first mover advantage and stay ahead of the competition.”
The surge in filings, said RPC, is part of a five-year trend; they have reportedly increased by 116 per cent from 2013, when just 425 were filed.