The future of the auto glass/insurance interface can take two forms—either the business will become more personal, with a demand for local agents increasing, or the market will be more automated and less personalized, according to Garry Golden, a senior futurist with futurethink LLC, who gave a special presentation today at Auto Glass Week™ in Tampa, Fla.
Golden stressed that he does not know the specific future of the insurance industry, but there are two potential paths. As a futurist, he studies social change to apply foresight.
“You’re (the AGRR industry) just one fish … one market and one partner for the insurance industry,” he said.
As technology becomes even more prevalent, the insurance industry is offering a payment plan determined on how a consumer drives. By including a device in the car that tracks driving patterns, a consumer could pay more or less in insurance premiums.
Discussing all this technology, Golden said, “People are shifting from driver to captain. I flew a plane here. Who was in charge? We all think the captain, but who was really in charge?”
Software is becoming more and more a part of a vehicle, and as it does, it could be up to this technology to inform the driver of when work needs to be done. For instance, if the windshield chips, the vehicle will inform the driver it needs to be repaired with the insurance agency being included as a part of this loop, Golden said.
“The pay-as-you drive model is coming,” Golden said. “If it shifts to a more behavior-based business … the insurance industry could have more perspective in determining when work is needed. Oh, we’ve detected a chip in your windshield you need to go get that fixed.”
With self-driving vehicles becoming more popular and more automakers announcing these entering the marketplace—such as Nissan and Tesla—accidents will decrease. So windshield repair technicians and installers could be soon installing sensors in the windshields, Golden said. And perhaps it’s a good idea to add such services, he added.
Automation could have a big impact. The more information gathered by technology, the more the insurance companies can have this data at their fingertips quickly.
However, Golden said he could also see the market shifting back to a more personal nature. If consumers demand more personalized service, agents could play an even bigger role.
“You become hyper-local in your relationships,” he pointed out.
This is how auto glass companies can succeed. A company could also turn to location-based services.
“There is an entire field of local-based marketing bubbling up around all retail marketplaces with geography-based fences,” Golden noted.
For instance, if a consumer drives into a certain range of an auto glass company’s location, the company could send an alert to the consumer’s phone that there is a deal going on and to stop in. Or if there is a hail event, the system could alert the consumer that auto glass repair and replacement is available very close by, Golden explained.
“The world is going to change in way that you might not understand, might feel threatened by, but we need to move toward. We need to decide how to move forward as a group,” he said.
Auto Glass Week 2013 concludes late today with a Gala Awards Reception and Ceremony during which the winners of the Nordglass Auto Glass Technician Olympics and GlasWeld Windshield Repair Olympics will be announced.