Many of the insurance executives we speak to want to know which of their digital investments are delivering a return—and which are not. To find out, Accenture analyzed public innovation announcements over the last five years from the top 30 insurers by total premium volume across all major markets worldwide. 

Our analysis found a high correlation between insurers with strong performance in top line, net income and market valuation and those who invested in two types of innovations: 

  • DistributionDigitization, automation or capability innovations in the distribution of insurance products through direct channels, intermediaries or ecosystem partners. 
  • Customer experience: Digitization, automation or capability innovations in customer communications, quoting and contracting (e.g., price transparency, automated quotation, seamless contracting), policy management and payment (e.g., policy portals, omni-channel payment infrastructure), incident support infrastructure (24/7 emergency services and network capabilities) and claims. 

The impact of customer experience innovations wathe most pronounced in North America, a highly consolidated market where the top 10 personal lines insurers hold 70 percent of market shareIn this environment, if they want to set themselves apart, insurers must win customers’ trust and deliver a consistently good customer experience every step of the way, from initial customer contact through to claims handling. They also need to extend distribution into new markets and via new channels. 

Why we think insurers should focus investments on empowering insurance agents 

While there are countless ways to tackle distribution and the customer experience with innovation investments, we think insurers should start by focusing their investments on enabling captive and independent insurance agents in the digital age. 

Even with the rise of direct sales, agents play a key role as the main business drivers of the insurance company, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. They build personal relationships with customers that inspire trust, they’re expected to deliver topnotch customer experiences and they’re excited to extend distribution into untapped markets. But to meet their true potentialespecially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with virtual selling a necessityagents need insurers to invest in digital innovations that will help them do what they do best. 

Top agents integrate four dimensions in their work: 

  • Partner 
  • Growth seeker 
  • Collaborator 
  • Entrepreneur 

Empowering agents across the four dimensions will help them to better serve the business and their customers. And it’ll boost insurers profitability and performance. 

In the following posts, well look at each of these agent dimensions, in turn, to see where digital investments can add the most value. 

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about our research into digital innovations, read our report: Where’s the payback on digital innovation in insurance? 

Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors.

 

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