Inefficiencies in the insurance industry are costing consumers millions each year, while the industry continues to grow. The needs of consumers don’t always seem to be a top priority, which is a deep concern during the current global economic climate. Bradley Smith, specialist consultant at digital agency Platinum Seed discusses how technology can help achieve the best outcomes for both the industry and consumers. South Africa’s insurance industry operates under an archaic system where distribution is still largely broker-based. This often results in products being sold with perverse incentives – the term used in an environment where broker incentive structures encourage them to maximise commissions rather than meet consumers’ needs. In December 2016, the National Treasury and the Financial Services Board (FSB) stepped in and published amendments to insurance regulations to improve market conduct in the insurance sector. These amendments aim to ensure that customers are treated fairly and that incentives for brokers are aligned to ensure that “less complex, good-value products” are offered to clients. However, insurance marketing is still very industrial and takes a blanket approach, rather than a highly targeted and personalised one – which is not in keeping with current trends towards personalised communication, made possible through various social platforms and online tools. Products are still very generic and not tailored to individual needs, and back-end administration systems are often archaic because they’ve been built in layers over time, and peeling through them to innovate at the core is a massively time consuming and risky venture.