Some traditional carriers are expanding the insurance value chain through strategic partnerships, allowing them to better adapt and acquire digital capabilities.

Accenture research shows that 59 percent of carriers are prioritizing a more customer-centric distribution model, and 48 percent have already built (or plan to build in the near future) a customer-centric hub that leverages data and analytics to improve customer service. Those are encouraging findings, but they come with a caveat: in general, established carriers are hesitant to take bolder moves. For example, fewer than half (43 percent) are planning or have completed the acquisition of a startup or innovative competitor.

Last week, I shared examples of how new entrants are leveraging partnerships, digital capabilities and improved customer experiences to redefine the insurance distribution landscape. This week, I want to share two examples of established carriers who have spun strategic partnerships to their advantage.

Aligning insurance with high-end auto performance

Insurance carriers transforming their distribution capabilities through partnershipsGerman carrier Allianz and BMW have formed an integrated partnership. For example, Allianz offers seven days of complimentary telematics-based car insurance with the purchase of a BMW vehicle, with the option to continue the insurance agreement after the trial period. Importantly, conventional telematics offerings that reward drivers for conservative behavior are not consistent with BMW’s brand promise: “the ultimate driving machine”. So Allianz has tailored its usage-based insurance offering to better align with the promise of high-end performance. The partnership also extends to BMW Aftersales, which includes service and maintenance after purchase and provides Allianz access to 27 markets in which BMW is active.

Since the start of their partnership in 2009, Allianz and BMW have tripled their customer insurance business. Further, a recent initiative to include a telematics tracking package on BMW’s electric cars can help position the carrier at the forefront of digital innovation in the auto market.

Boosting digital capabilities through social media partnerships

AXA, the French multinational carrier, has boosted its digital capabilities through a strategic partnership with Facebook. The alliance provides AXA with access to Facebook’s deep resources in innovation, analytics and mobile. In addition, Facebook recently expanded Facebook Messenger to enable businesses to communicate with customers. In response, Switch (AXA’s fully digital offering targeted at younger customers) became the first carrier to adopt Facebook Messenger as a channel for personalized, one-on-one service.

Are you partnering fast enough?

Accenture research shows that the majority of carriers know they need to form partnerships—but even so, it’s essential to move quickly. Attractive alliances are, by definition, limited in number. By beginning now to reshape products and services, expand distribution channels and re-imagine customer interactions, carriers can maximize their chances of becoming a leader in the new insurance distribution landscape.

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