The trends to watch in 2024 and beyond

Through the Ageas Horizon Scan, we can detect the trends bringing our business new opportunities and anticipate possible new challenges. Discover some of the most recent outcomes from our annual trend scanning exercise!

Combining the best of AI and Human intelligence

Each year, Ageas uses AI technology to scan millions of open data from various sources, browsing for signs of emerging trends or trends that could be evolving faster or slower than we might assume. This trend analysis is then compared with the views of more than 2,000 employees from 13 countries in Europe and Asia through an internal survey. This unique, dual approach helps us make sense of the future in a pragmatic way.

What did we learn?

The most impactful trends detected by our Horizon Scan were mostly found in the Tech and ESG space. Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Tech companies top the list according to the AI trend analysis. Our employees agree with the first two but added a third trend: Extreme Weather Events.

The AI analysis also allows us to see how trends are changing over time. This year, it highlighted the strongest rise in Generative AI, Web 3.0, and Home/Alternative Care. On the other hand, the impact of Omnichannel Distribution is decreasing the most, morphing into an Optichannel approach (as opposed to providing more channels and integrating them, this focuses on the most optimal channels for interacting with customers).

As you might expect, Generative AI appeared on our horizon last year. But it wasn’t the only newbie: no less than 10 new trends were detected, and half immediately entered the top 20 of most impactful trends. These include Geopolitical Tensions, Generative AI, AI management and governance, Climate Change Adaptation and Preventative Healthcare.

The pace at which new trends enter the radar and gather speed demonstrates just how quickly things can change and how important it is to be agile and responsive. The Ageas Horizon Scanning exercise allows us to remain relevant to our stakeholders in this ever-changing landscape. Now in its 5th cycle, each year the content becomes richer and richer through the accumulation of knowledge over time.

Hans De Cuyper, CEO Ageas

A compass for the future

Each of the 141 trends we identified are categorised according to their relative importance or state of evolution. This categorisation serves as a recommendation to our teams worldwide on how to act upon the opportunities & challenges the trends represent, from both an investment but also a risk management perspective.

  1. One of the categories we label as "No-brainers" are the trends that both AI and employees have identified as short-term imperatives. Cybersecurity and Data Protection, for example, are No-brainers Ageas has already integrated into its action plans.
  2. "Speed-Ups" are trends evolving faster according to AI than expected by employees. Not surprisingly, Generative AI falls into the category. Ageas is already testing and deploying different Gen AI solutions in this area, both back- and front end. Among these, the Digital Coach – a training simulator for our salespeople. Also, on the “Speed-up” radar is an increased focus on Embedded Insurance, particularly in Asia. Ageas recently launched a new B2B2C digital distribution channel in India, seamlessly embedding insurance in digital customer journeys. The channel is already helping to drive future growth by covering more than 500,000 lives in its first year.
  3. The “Alarm” category involves trends with high AI impact but divergent human perception, such as Health Telematics. Ageas increasingly explores solutions that add value to health ecosystems in the Group.
  4. “Observatory” trends are those likely to have strong impact in the mid-to-long term (2 to 5+ years), such as Open Insurance.
  5. “Parking” classifies trends with relatively low impact for the insurance industry, necessitating monitoring without immediate action. An example is Non-Fungible Tokens (a digital asset that represents ownership or proof of authenticity of a unique item or piece of content, using blockchain technology).

As the world moves fast, the evolution of trends are tracked by AI on an ongoing basis throughout the year. To ensure we embrace key trends in all areas of our business, the Horizon Scan’s findings are shared with all employees across the Group in a digital TrendTracker platform. At Ageas, the Horizon Scan has become a vital compass in setting the strategic direction of the Group and its local businesses.

Illustration: Trends mentioned above as mapped on Ageas’s Horizon Scan Radars (respectively according to our employees and the AI analysis).