Accenture recently polled more than 400 senior executives at large and medium-sized life insurance, P&C (both personal lines and small commercial) and multiline carriers in 20 countries to understand their perspectives on the disruption of their business and operating models.
The survey found that, in response to continuous digital innovation and rising customer expectations, insurers are moving steadily toward a digitally-enabled omnichannel distribution model. Every stage of the sales process is affected, from discovery of information through to advice and purchase, but the trend to digitization is most notable on the services side of distribution.
For the last few years, insurance companies have been investing in their processes to make their services more available to customers. This has been driven not only by a desire to increase customers’ convenience and control, but also by the need to reduce distribution costs. Key features of this trend have been a renewed focus on the contact center, the redirection of agents to handle more complex service transactions and a continued shift toward a full self-service capability.
When we asked executives, “What progress have you made towards having a wholly digital sales process, using human interactions only for customers needing advice?” 24 percent of respondents reported that they have a wholly digital sales process. A further 56 percent said that they are planning to move to a wholly digital sales process. Survey respondents also said that they expect a large proportion of sales to be concluded digitally from start to finish within the next three years—31 percent of P&C personal lines sales, 24 percent of commercial insurance sales and 26 percent of life insurance sales.
Channel digitization is one of six key distribution-related areas insurers are concentrating on. Other areas include:
- Insight-driven customer experiences.
- The changing role of the agent.
- The future of aggregators.
- The role of ecosystems.
- The Internet of Things.
Insurers have an opportunity to address each of these six areas, proactively positioning themselves as disruptors rather than trying to defend their current positions and their legacy business and distribution models.
To learn more, register to download the Reimaging Insurance Distribution report.