Other parts of this series:
The insurance industry is often mentioned as a top candidate for digital disruption. Traditional, experiential and perceptual competitors commonly regard the industry’s perceived weaknesses – such as a traditionally infrequent customer engagement, overly complex products, and customers’ willingness to switch providers – as opportunities to gain market share.
As evidenced in Accenture’s 2017 Financial Services Global Distribution & Marketing Study, insurance is changing from a business to consumer (B2C) to a consumer to business (C2B) industry. The insurer no longer tells the customer how things will be; rather, the customer is increasingly dictating to the insurer what products and services they need and how they want them delivered. Consumers are increasingly open to insurance distribution taking place beyond the industry’s traditional boundaries.
With the proliferation of new technologies – including artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and analytics – and new data streams from the Internet of Things, third-party databases, social media and other sources, insurers now have a range of strategic options for the products they offer, their distribution networks, and even their overall operating models.
These options are not ‘either/or’ but can be combined in novel ways to create both customer and business value. Insurers face the challenge of conducting business as usual – while digitizing and streamlining their current operations and enhancing the experience they offer customers –and at the same time exploring and experimenting with new options. The ability to invest at multiple speeds, strengthening core distribution while developing new models and approaches, is becoming a critical imperative for insurance management teams. High performers will likely pursue multiple models simultaneously, while digitally enhancing their core distribution capabilities.
In the following blogs in this series, I will look at steps insurers can take to align their distribution models with the realities of a changing marketplace.