Spying, AI and Hacking, Oh My… 7 Agent Technology Trends to Watch in 2023

March 6, 2023 by

Technology is a double-edged sword that can drive fear as much as excitement for the future. Game-changing tech, though, allows us to make our imaginations a reality. Let’s take a spin down Future Lane to see what tech might hold for independent agencies.

Internet 1-2-3

A great battle for the ownership of the internet is coming. Internet 1.0 was read-only content. Internet 2.0 was a read-write tool that introduced blogs and social media in a flourishing content creator economy. Internet 3.0 is a read-write-execute tool, which attempts to claw back ownership and control of content now firmly in the hands of a half-dozen digital robber barons.

At moments, Web 3.0 feels like the internet did in 1995: a Wild West full of fringe ideology, flawed business models and charlatans. But if this next layer of the internet can mature and do for value what the current version has done for information, 2030 will look nothing like today.

Retooling for Cyber Warfare

If cyberattacks continue at triple-digit compound annual rates, we’ll soon reach an inflection point and society will cease to function. The World Economic Forum is predicting an imminent “cyber pandemic” as cyber warfare becomes the new battleground. AI’s dark side promises a 100-fold increase in the volume and cunning of social engineering through deepfakes, those doctored images and sounds put together by machine-learning algorithms that seem real but are not.

Fortunately, the insurance industry is fighting back with cyber coverage and the tech industry is trying to batten down the hatches.

Waiting for sweeping, draconian regulation won’t end well for anyone. As custodians of sensitive information, the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) industries are on the front lines of this battle against both criminal gangs and nation states. The information for which independent agents hold custody, if taken by unfriendly hands, can be used in attacks targeted at clients.

MFA Crackdown

Data breaches also will get more attention in 2023. In 2022, new federal regulations called for organizations in certain industry sectors to report significant cybersecurity incidents to the Department of Homeland Security. The answer, of course, is to avoid data breaches, and that’s where cybersecurity tool multifactor authentication (MFA) comes in.

The insurance industry is getting wise to the risks of breaches. Many feel the pinch when they try to get an agency cyber insurance policy without having MFA in place for email. Carrier portals are slowly but haphazardly adopting MFA, which ultimately will burden CSRs with juggling a half-dozen methods and apps, often being forced to use their personal devices.

The time is now for agencies to build a comprehensive strategy for MFA while being vocal within the industry about what a disorganized “just check the box” approach to meeting security mandates is doing to end-user productivity. My advice: Demand that portals have WebAuthn/FIDO2 compatibility, and check out phishing-resistant MFA.

Data Orchestration

Data orchestration — the process of bringing information together from multiple sources, standardizing it, and preparing it for data analysis — is the informational equivalent of turning lead into gold.

Data platforms can funnel information feeds into a single location, where it is cleansed, normalized, enhanced, standardized, benchmarked and centralized into a single data-rich source of information about clients/prospects. That golden image can then be fed into your agency management system or another tool for marketing or service.

Imagine that with the click of a button you can fill in all those client data fields rather than needing your client, staff or yourself to do so. Data orchestration platforms may also sync your data securely to accounts controlled by you or your clients.

Digital Palm-Reading

It’s long been said that the insurance industry is slow to adopt technology. Artificial intelligence might help us play catch-up. AI blurs the lines between written language and written computer code. If insurance policies are essentially computer code, your policy is effectively an app you can interact with to verify, benchmark, and learn through an actual conversation. Customers may soon be asking: “Hey Siri, does my policy cover X?”

On a similar track but focused on automation is Clause, a contract drafting tool intended to “turn existing legal agreements into ‘living documents’ that integrate with enterprise software systems and blockchain networks.”

The AI Bubble of 2023

AI innovation is as hot in 2023 as crypto was a year ago. AI research is focusing on “large language models,” with tens of billions of investment flooding in. Released in late 2022, AI-driven chatbot ChatGPT has the internet buzzing about what it could do to revolutionize search and draft code and copy. Beyond that, it’s possible that AI could be your future co-pilot across the many tools you currently use daily.

One example: AI could provide an “assistant” trained on your thousands of prior emails that can automatically draft email responses that resemble what you yourself might write.

Some other examples that are already available:

Spellbook can provide input for writing contracts.

DoNotPay is the “world’s first robot lawyer” that taps AI to “help consumers fight against large corporations and solve their problems like beating parking tickets, appealing bank fees, and suing robocallers.”

I Spy With My Little iMessage

In 2022, millions of users took steps to regain a semblance of privacy while using texting and chat. Apps that tout end-to-end encryption such as Signal, Session and Telegram are replacing legacy apps like iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and basic SMS.

As trust in institutions and corporations continues to hit new generational lows, this trend is set to continue.