Digital Customer: It's time to play to win and stop playing not to lose
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All our research shows that consumers generally, including insurance customers, are hugely influenced by the experience offered by online providers and retailers. The Accenture Global Consumer Pulse 2013 research shows that they want the same level of personalization from all their service providers, no matter what sector. The days of sector-specific customer expectations are over, as insurers in search of profitable growth strategies must understand well.

According to the Accenture 2013 Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey, most life customers (79 percent) said that a personalized service was important in their decision to stop doing business with their current provider and switch to another in the next 12 months. Only a lower price was rated more important!

And, quite clearly, life insurance customers are also moving online: 69 percent are willing to purchase insurance online, with mobile and social media channels growing in importance all the time.

Another key finding from this survey is that insurance customers seem to want their service providers to adopt a more comprehensive role, to do more than simply insure their risk. Forty-six percent of life customers said it was “critically important” for their insurer to help reduce risks, while a further 46 percent said it was important but not critical they fulfill this role.

Most important of all, insurance customers are prepared to switch providers in order to get the kind of experience they want. Ten percent of life customers are very likely, and a further 25 percent are somewhat likely, to switch providers. This “switching economy” put some $400 billion of insurance premiums across life, home and auto “in play” during 2013—a substantial figure by any measure.

So, in order to meet customer expectations, life insurers, like their P&C colleagues, have to be able to respond to a greatly broadened—and broadening—set of demands from customers. To meet these demands and offer an “experience” rather than a product, life insurers will have to take full advantage of the full range of opportunities provided by digital technologies.

Next time, the new profit pools and how to fish in them.

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