Some current innovations in the insurance channel seem to be concentrating on new ways for customers to buy insurance.

As the insurance industry comes to terms with customers’ demands to be able to access all facets of insurance, from advice to payment, through a multiplicity of channels, it’s clear that many innovators are thinking about ways to make existing channels more accessible.

One such initiative is the partnership between SuperMoney and Assicurali.it, designed to connect customers looking for car insurance with tied agents. Agents register their details on Assicurali and can then purchase leads generated by the SuperMoney site. Assicurali offers agents a multi-channel front end through which to interact with prospects, including a call center, e-mail and live chat. SuperMoney will also provide customers with contact details of their nearest agents.

Two other innovations concern the payment channel. Zurich Connect has added three new channels through which its customers can pay for insurance while, in Thailand, 7 Eleven has created a new counter-based payment service for Directasia.com clients, as well as five other local insurers. These local insurers, Muang Thai Life Assurance, Bangkok Insurance, Muang Thai Insurance, Allianz CP General Insurance and Thaivivat Insurance, offer microinsurance products.

I find the latter innovation particularly interesting given the huge momentum building up in microinsurance (as it’s called in emerging markets) and small-ticket insurance (as it’s called in developed markets). These microinsurance products can be bought literally “over the counter”, in a shop that presumably is well located for the target segment, the emerging middle class in Thailand’s cities.

The Digital Insurer Accenture 2013 Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey: Playing to win
Read the report.

Read more about my thoughts on microinsurance and also our recent article on the subject, Big opportunities in small-ticket insurance. Regular readers of my blogs will remember that I have argued that mainstream insurance has a lot to learn from microinsurance.

I have to end this post with what must be one of the most innovative of all: Genertel’s Quality Friends Facebook App. It plays on the “insurance” concept to provide a way for friends to compile a video that stores and secures their shared experiences. The content is extracted from their Facebook timelines, and is protected by the virtual signatures of each. The app is currently available on Genertel’s webpage but will soon go mobile. If it works, it will position Genertel as a true lifestyle partner, willing to help customers manage all sorts of risk—even the risk of losing digital momentos of friendship.

Because video has become one of the major drivers of the digital environment, my view is that any innovations in this space should be watched carefully.

For background information on what today’s consumers are using specific channels to do, read the Accenture 2013 Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey—and you can use our online tool to customize data for yourself.

Next week, we move into the backroom to look at some process innovations.

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