Other parts of this series:
In my previous blog post, I outlined briefly how the ecosystem economy is creating new business models and expectations for insurance carriers. As consumers interact with platform-driven brands such as Apple, Uber and Amazon and their ecosystems, their expectations about insurance change. They expect services to become simpler and more seamless, personalized, convenient and frequent.
The insurance market hasn’t kept pace with these new customer demands. This creates openings that companies from industries such as home automation and personal transport as well as digital players (including a new breed of fintechs and insurtech startups) are ready to exploit. Such competitors are finding a market that is increasingly open to their overtures.
The combination of changing customer expectations and new competition puts a significant portion of insurers’ traditional revenue at risk; in addition, platform brands and ecosystem orchestrators could potentially take control of the sales and service interface with the customer as well as the customer data. Facing this level of new competition, insurers must carve out a new role for themselves.
Already, we’re seeing insurtechs, digital companies and non-traditional competitors use Internet of Things (IoT) interfaces, artificial intelligence, and big data to deliver a more personal, everyday experience to customers. In some cases, it makes sense for insurance carriers to embed themselves in these ecosystems and use their platforms.
Chubb, for instance, has partnered with Suning to distribute insurance products via the Chinese online retailer’s 230-million-strong e-commerce customer network. Elsewhere, insurers are starting to leverage platforms such as Amazon’s Alexa, and their surrounding ecosystems, to access new customers or create new customer experiences.
Consumers are also open to partnering with their insurers in new ways, creating the possibility of insurers themselves become ecosystem orchestrators. Some 44 percent of respondents in Accenture research say it is important that insurers provide personalized advice on becoming and staying healthy; 56 percent want insurers to provide personalized advice that reduces the risk of loss or injury.
In my next post, I’ll look at why insurance carriers need a platform strategy, regardless of whether they operate their own platform or participate in that of a third party.