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Property and casualty (p&c) insurers have been quick to adapt technology to meet changing consumer needs. Direct marketing and online portals make it easier for consumers to understand and purchase insurance, while usage-based insurance (UBI) allows safe drivers, particularly those who drive less, to reduce their premiums.

Today, a different type of opportunity exists that may help insurers not only meet changing consumer needs, but also gain first-mover advantage in the process. Called the “sharing economy,” this market involves renting privately or company-owned assets—generally cars or homes—primarily through an online peer-to-peer network. While the car-sharing market in North America alone grew by 25 percent, few insurers have embraced or have even begun to explore this market.

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