The insurance industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by digitalization, personalization, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things, and cybersecurity in insurance documentation and data analytics, predictive risk assessment, fraud detection, and smart policy management. In the last three years alone, there have been over 17,000 patents filed and granted in the insurance industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial intelligence in insurance: smart vehicle damage assessment. Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

20+ innovations will shape the insurance industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the insurance industry using innovation intensity models built on over 70,000 patents, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, underwriting AI, predictive risk analysis, and insurance documentation AI are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Insurance fraud detection AI, smart policy management, and smart vehicle damage assessment are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is automated weather forecasting, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the insurance industry

Smart vehicle damage assessment is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Smart vehicle damage assessment refers to the use of advanced AI technologies such as image processing, computer vision, and machine learning to automatically assess and estimate the repair cost of damaged vehicles. By analyzing images of the damaged vehicle, both external and internal damage can be detected and inferred by insurers, allowing for a more accurate estimation of repair costs. This technology aims to streamline and automate the process of vehicle damage claims, thereby reducing manual effort and improving the efficiency of insurers.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 150+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established insurance companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart vehicle damage assessment.

Key players in smart vehicle damage assessment – a disruptive innovation in the insurance industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to smart vehicle damage assessment

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 526 Unlock Company Profile
Cox Enterprises 226 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 158 Unlock Company Profile
Ping An Insurance (Group) 147 Unlock Company Profile
The Allstate 133 Unlock Company Profile
USAA 91 Unlock Company Profile
Clearlake Capital Group 76 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 60 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced New Technologies 60 Unlock Company Profile
Tractable 50 Unlock Company Profile
Pictometry International 42 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 35 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 31 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 31 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 29 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 28 Unlock Company Profile
Taikang Insurance Group 28 Unlock Company Profile
Flex 24 Unlock Company Profile
Leonard Green & Partners 23 Unlock Company Profile
Zendrive 21 Unlock Company Profile
Lear 19 Unlock Company Profile
Yembo 19 Unlock Company Profile
NetraDyne 18 Unlock Company Profile
The Hartford Financial Services Group 18 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 17 Unlock Company Profile
Ant Group 16 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 16 Unlock Company Profile
Theator 14 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 13 Unlock Company Profile
The Toronto-Dominion Bank 12 Unlock Company Profile
Verisk Analytics 11 Unlock Company Profile
Ravin AI 11 Unlock Company Profile
Accenture 11 Unlock Company Profile
ReviverMx 11 Unlock Company Profile
KBC Group 11 Unlock Company Profile
Mitchell International 10 Unlock Company Profile
Nauto 10 Unlock Company Profile
CoreLogic 10 Unlock Company Profile
Nio 10 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 10 Unlock Company Profile
American International Group (AIG) 10 Unlock Company Profile
Conduent 9 Unlock Company Profile
The Travelers 9 Unlock Company Profile
LyondellBasell Industries 9 Unlock Company Profile
Vista Equity Partners 8 Unlock Company Profile
Mile Auto 8 Unlock Company Profile
Click-Ins 7 Unlock Company Profile
Curiteva 7 Unlock Company Profile
Ricoh 7 Unlock Company Profile
Bank of America 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance is one of the leading patent filers in smart vehicle damage assessment. The company filed patents related to machine learning and deep learning image processing techniques for automatically estimating the damage level, repair time, and repair cost for vehicles involved in an accident. Cox Enterprises, Alibaba Group, and Ping An Insurance (Group) are some of the other key patent filers in the smart vehicle damage assessment space.

In terms of application diversity, Theator held the top position, while Curiteva and Clearlake Capital stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Alphabet leads the pack, followed by Pictometry International and Clearlake Capital.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the insurance industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Insurance.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.