17 Sep 2018

What Does it Take for InsurTech to Become Mainstream?

By: John Baker

What Does it Take for InsurTech to Become Mainstream?

We've written a lot over the years about autonomous vehicles, and so far, hopes have been high for the most part. But this month at Forbes, Gartner Research Director Mike Ramsey noted a change: "Autonomous vehicles have plunged into the Trough of Disillusionment!"

Chalk it up to growing pains."Hype is still relatively strong, but it isn’t the same as 2015 when the timetable for companies developing autonomous vehicles seemed reasonable and the impact enormous," Ramsey said.

That’s because the roadblocks are piling up. There's still no consensus on when self-driving cars will be ready for commercial deployment, much-needed federal regulations are yet to emerge, cities and states don't have regulatory answers either, and producers such as Audi are losing momentum as a result.

Yet while a word like "disillusionment" can chill the bones – especially in an industry that's spent billions on development – we've been expecting this. It's a normal part of the Hype Cycle.

The tech adoption cycle, in five phases

The Hype Cycle is a pattern that Gartner noted to describe the emergence and adoption of new technologies. It has five phases:

  1. The Technology Trigger. During this phase, you'll hear proof-of-concept stories and see a lot of media interest about what's to come; however, the tech is a long way from hitting the market.
  2. Peak of Inflated Expectations. All that interest foments into an eagerness that may or may not be aligned with reality. During this phase, you'll hear lots of success and failure stories, and you'll see some of your competitors moving to adopt. (If you're an early bird, perhaps you're one of them.)
  3. Trough of Disillusionment. The initial flurry of high hopes crashes during this phase, and that's never fun. Implementations fail to deliver. Interest flattens. Producers give up. Survivors are born.
  4. Slope of Enlightenment. The story's not over yet – at least, not for those with the tenacity to survive the Trough. During this phase, you'll start hearing more substantive stories about the true benefits the tech brings to bear. You'll see producers introduce second- and third-generation products. And more of your competitors will invest.
  5. Plateau of Productivity. Only after we’ve weathered phases 1-4 does mainstream adoption set in. At this point, the industry has the context it needs to assess providers accurately, apply the tech to their challenges, and see the ROI.

"The idea is that technologies are hyped well ahead of their actual impact," Ramsey said. "By the time they are mature, they aren't hyped much any longer." Which brings us to a poignant question:

How often does new technology fail because its backers give up too soon?

The Trough of Disillusionment is a scary place to find oneself, whether you're a tech startup, an investor, or a company that has taken steps to prepare for that investment. Without a map and a compass, it's easy to suppose that this dismal point is, in fact, the destination. For those who persevere, however, it's merely the halfway point on the road to payoff.

Fortunately, your Silvervine insurance policy administration system will be ready and capable when you’re ready to start underwriting all the autonomous vehicles coming out of the Trough. Until then, request a demo and discover how Silvervine can take you to the future.

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