Insurance is a notoriously competitive business. Well-financed, experienced firms vie for customers’ business in every corner of the industry. Price, as a recent Accenture survey of global consumer taste found, is the top driver of loyalty for auto and home insurers.

This competition pushes insurers to innovative and boost operational efficiency. Staying in front of what customers want is as challenging as it is important.

Accenture’s Global Distribution & Marketing Consumer Study collects the views of thousands of insurance customers around the world to identify market trends and new opportunities for insurers to refine their market segmentation, offerings, and distribution models.

This year’s study aggregates the views of 32,715 insurance customers spread across 18 markets. It reveals that advances in digital technologies, coupled with significant shifts in consumer behavior, are changing the way customers want to interact with their insurers. The research also highlights where insurers can leverage increased digital connectivity and cognitive computing to improve the traditional insurance value proposition.

Key findings of the report include:

Customers want personalized services. In the digital age customers expect services tailored to their needs and tastes from every business with which they interact, at every touch point. Insurance is no exception. The report reveals a strong appetite around the world for real-time, customized services that insurers could provide.       

                                                 Consumers would welcome personalized, real-time services that add value to their daily lives.

Customers are willing to share personal information—for a price. Most consumers surveyed reported that they were comfortable sharing personal information with their insurer, provided some benefit is offered in return.         

                                               Most consumers will provide personal data if offered something in return.

Customers are open to buying insurance from non-insurers. Over 60 percent of customers surveyed reported they would be comfortable buying insurance from a bank. Smaller, but substantial, percentages would buy insurance from a tech company, a home service provider, or a retailer. This openess to non-traditional insurers has grown significantly in all categories since 2013.   

                                        Consumers are open to buying insurance from providers other than insurance companies.

This willingness to try non-traditional forms of insurance extends to peer-to-peer insurance, which 55 percent of consumers surveyed said they would consider for life insurance. (The percentages drop for auto and home insurance.)

Consumers are comfortable with automated advice. The growing portion of consumers who would consider insurance from a firm like Google or Amazon suggests that consumers are increasingly comfortable with digital technology in every aspect of their lives. This is corroborated by the portion of consumers who are willing to receive financial advice from robots.

                                                         Most consumers are willing to receive computer-generated advice about their financial investments.

These findings provide a high-level overview of the global insurance market. Accenture’s analysis of the survey results also identifies three distinctive consumer groups to guide insurers as they consider shifting global tastes. Each group can be thought of as a “persona” with different characteristics and preferences. Come back next week for a close look at Nomads, Hunters, and Quality Seekers. In the meantime, download the full report from Accenture here.