Today, you can place an order on your smartphone and have your latte waiting for you when you arrive at the coffee shop. Your favorite online retailers know your buying habits better than you do and make recommendations accordingly. And every pharmacy, grocery store and sub shop has a loyalty program that gives you big discounts for shopping there.

Companies are gathering customer information from a variety of sources — everything from your sales receipts to your browsing habits — and using data analytics to build a complete picture of who you are. The goal is to develop a personal relationship that increases customer satisfaction and drives revenue.

But there’s one industry where the relationship between the customer and the company can be more distant and impersonal: insurance.

For most drivers, for example, the scenario looks like this: You go through a local independent insurance agent who is your point of contact for most transactions. The only time you deal directly with the insurance company is if you get into an accident and need to file a claim.

Digital change is coming to insurance

Changes are starting to happen as insurance companies recognize the need to bridge that gap with their customers to remain competitive.

Insurance companies are now beginning to integrate technologies such as telematics, big data analytics and cloud computing with concepts like self-service, personalization and omnichannel offerings.

For example, auto insurers can use telematics data as the basis for personalized insurance policies that reward safe drivers with lower rates. Telematics can also be used to detect fraud.

Installing sensors on your car so the insurance company can monitor your driving habits might seem a bit intrusive. But if your car has a pre-collision system or lane-departure alerts, you already have telematics. And we know that cars are becoming more like computers, with additional self-driving features becoming standard every year.

In fact, by 2019, usage-based insurance enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT) will account for at least 15 percent of the global vehicle insurance market, according to IDC’s FutureScope: Worldwide Financial Services 2017 Predictions.

The challenge for insurance companies is making the transition to digital. That means breaking down silos, moving from paper to online self-service, embracing the cloud and using analytics to gather meaning from the vast trove of available data.

Certainly, the intent is there. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of insurance executives say they expect their strategy to become entirely digital over the next 3 years, compared with 39 percent of executives in other industries, according to the Global Digital Enterprise Survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by DXC Technology.

The transition to digital won’t be easy, but the benefits are clear. Insurance companies will be able to advance from a commodity model to a continuous service model. In the auto insurance scenario, companies will be able to offer personalized advice and education for customers who may be dealing with, say, a teenager who is driving for the first time, or an elderly parent who is still driving.

Eventually, insurance companies will be able to gain a full picture of the customer across the entire spectrum of auto, home, healthcare and life insurance. The result will be new types of offerings, satisfied customers, and a streamlined, efficient, successful insurance industry.

Learn more from DXC’s Insurance Industry CTO in his video and paper on Defining the Future of Digital Insurance.