For the Accenture Distribution and Agency Management Survey, we spoke with more than 400 insurance distribution executives, with roughly one-quarter of them in North America. The study reveals six areas of focus to help insurers position for success with digital insurance distribution.

Aggregators: Strategies for engagement

Accenture research found that 51 percent of insurers are considering defining a set of low-cost products for aggregators. However, we also noted variations in the survey results by geography—for example, 58 percent of US insurers are considering setting up their own aggregator site, compared with 83 percent of UK insurers. This is largely a reflection of the greater penetration of aggregators in the UK market, as well as different regulatory frameworks.

To put these findings in context, it’s important to define what an aggregator is. There are at least three aggregator models:

  • The traditional model. This is what many people think of when you say “aggregator”: a customer enters his information once and obtains multiple quotes for the same product. In essence, many insurers are bidding on one customer’s business.
  • The brand-controlled model. With this model, a customer will ask for a quote on an insurer’s website. In addition to receiving that insurer’s quote, the customer receives quotes from a few other insurers. This is similar to the traditional model, but the primary insurer can control the customer experience, decide which competitors’ quotes to share and capture the data from the interaction.
  • The networked model. This non-competitive approach involves multiple insurers. For example, if a customer requests a quote for a homeowners policy but the insurer doesn’t offer that product, it may offer the customer a quote from another insurer that does. This is a good option for insurers to round out their product offerings and position themselves as a one-stop shop, provided they place business with a non-competitor.

All three of these models may be considered aggregators because they establish a market for multiple companies’ products. However, the marketplaces differ markedly in terms of how much control the insurer has over the customer experience, the extent to which there is competition, and the extent to which customers can comparison-shop.

Above all, taking advantage of the aggregator model—in whatever form—can provide insurers with important data to better understand customers and deepen customer relationships.

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