Insurance bosses should learn from companies like Blockbuster and HMV that failed to adapt to change

The technological boom in the insurance industry will truly get under way in 2013. Technology offers a great opportunity to improve underwriting, cut down on fraud and revolutionise marketing capabilities.

From pinpointing the exact geographical surroundings of a house, to point-of-quote licence-checking of a driver, the ‘big data’ revolution is only just beginning. It’s a tricky one for chief executives, however: they have to invest to stay ahead of the game, and the return on investment is unclear.

Whatever happens, the lessons from failed companies such as HMV and Blockbuster are clear: if you don’t adapt to technological change, more nimble rivals will shove you aside and eat up your markets.

Will Google Compare break through?

What is going on with Google? When the search giant bought BeatThatQuote for £37.7m two years ago, there was excitement. Many wondered if the deal would be a game-changer, with Google offering more transparency to customers and cheaper commissions for insurers. But, so far, its newly named aggregator Google Compare has challenges: it remains a marginal player, appears to have a contradictory business strategy, and has a parent under EU regulatory pressure.

Many have tried and failed to break into the UK price comparison market. It’s not easy taking business from the big four of MoneySupermarket, Confused, Gocompare and Comparethemarket. They are well established and spend millions on TV advertising and clever marketing. The lesson for aspiring entrants is simple enough: go big or go home.