Customer-centricity: The key to differentiation and growth (1 of 4)

As the soft insurance market persists, insurers are looking for ways to differentiate and drive growth. But achieving growth won’t be easy, especially as customers grow increasingly demanding and have more options than ever.

Consumers in a state of flux

Accenture research on insurance consumers found that loyalty has weakened, expectations have increased, and that customers are increasingly willing to shop around. Key research findings include:

  • Customers have high expectations of their insurance providers.
  • There is a gap between what customers expect of insurers and what they believe they receive.
  • Many insurance customers are willing to pay—and to pay more—to get more relevant products.
  • Customers’ use of mobile devices to engage with their insurance providers is likely to increase.
  • Rising customer expectations pose a serious challenge for insurers.
  • Most insurers struggle to achieve the differentiation that is crucial to growth.
  • The average P&C insurer has invested $11m in analytics, and the average life insurer has invested $30 million—and both plan to increase this amount.

Overall, the research findings show that insurers need to address customer preferences for relevance, convenience and innovation—with respect to products, services and channels. Accenture believes that by focusing on overall customer experience, insurers can create a competitive advantage to drive growth and build customer loyalty.

Next week, I’ll talk about the role of the mobile channel to creating a competitive advantage in insurance.

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Michael Costonis

About Michael Costonis

Michael Costonis is executive director of Accenture’s Insurance practice for North America. He is responsible for setting the overall vision and strategy for the practice, as well as pursuing new client relationships.

Costonis has twenty years experience developing, managing and deploying large scale technology systems, business processes, and strategies for some of the world’s leading insurers, including property & casualty, life, and multi-line insurance companies. In his career with Accenture, he has worked with more than 50 leading insurance clients in 14 countries around the world.

In addition to his role as North America industry executive director, Costonis is the lead for Accenture’s global claims services. In that role, he oversees claims strategies, assets, capabilities, and sales development. He also has led Accenture’s Insurance Solutions practice in North America, where he was responsible for driving growth for Accenture’s asset-based business in Insurance, including claims, underwriting, and policy administration.

Costonis has authored several articles in leading insurance trade publications, and has been quoted in The New York Times, Bloomberg News, Reuters News, Best’s Review, Insurance & Technology, InformationWeek, National Underwriter, Technology Decisions, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He has spoken at several leading industry conferences in the U.S. and internationally.

Costonis received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA). He is based in Philadelphia.

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