The sharing economy brings people together through technology to exchange or rent access to goods and services. Entrepreneurs are building this economy by leveraging emerging digital technologies to meet customer needs in new and disruptive ways. Forbes predicts that the global sharing economy will grow by 25 percent in 2014, reaching just over $3.5 billion.
This paper presents a current snapshot of the sharing economy in North America, with a focus on the segments of most interest to insurers—auto and home. It provides a glimpse into some of the major players; examines the regulatory and liability issues; outlines the opportunity for insurers; and frames the fundamental questions insurers must ask in order to guide their thinking on the path to leading innovation and gaining first-mover advantage.