I’m a big believer in the power of good, evidence-based research; I’ve mentioned this often in my blogs. So I am pleased to start this new blog series discussing our recent Distribution & Agency Management Survey.

It’s the most extensive survey of distribution in the insurance industry ever conducted by Accenture Research.  We canvassed top executives at 414 carriers in 20 countries in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America. They ranged from marketing chiefs through to CIOs, heads of distribution and sales, brokerage executives and chief digital officers. They’re all involved in insurance distribution. Many of them, 44 percent, work in Europe. Nearly all the carriers we surveyed generate premium income of more than US$1billion a year – 45 percent are multiline insurers, 28 percent property and casualty insurers, and 27 percent life insurers.

About the Accenture Distribution & Agency Management Survey

This is indeed a very powerful survey.

It gives a clear picture of how quickly insurers are deploying digital technology in the sale and distribution of their products and services. Moreover, it highlights the actions carriers need to take to harness the full potential of digital technologies to transform their distribution model and avoid being left behind by competitors.

Digital technology is no longer an adjunct to the businesses of the world’s major insurers. It now dominates the agendas of most of the big carriers around the globe. And its influence is fast getting stronger.

We’ve entered an era of huge digital disruption. And carriers must move quickly to formalize their digital strategies and shape their future distribution models.

This is one of the main findings of the Distribution & Agency Management Survey.

Reimagining insurance distribution - Distribution and Agent Management Survey Accenture POVMore than 80 percent of the insurance executives we surveyed intend to fully digitize their sales processes in the next few years. This is a huge shift from just two years ago when only a minority of carriers had such plans. In Europe, 27 percent of insurers have already implemented end-to-end digital sales processes, and a further 30 percent plan to follow suite in the next three years. This is in line with trends in the rest of the world.

New highly-personalized digital channels will enable insurers to build intimate customer relationships that can be leveraged by their physical channels to sell further products and services. They’ll also offer new business opportunities. Nearly 60 percent of all the insurers we surveyed are prioritizing a shift to more customer-centric distribution models, while 48 percent have, or plan, a customer-centric hub that allows them to use customer data to improve the service experience. Raising the quality of the customer’s digital experience is a major priority among insurers in Europe and the rest of the world.

Carriers across the globe are preparing a host of new digital services and products. Competition will be fierce. In the midst of growing change and uncertainty it’s vital that insurers cultivate business agility and act decisively in selecting and implementing their digital strategies.

In my next blog I’ll examine in more detail the digital disruption that’s taking place in the distribution channels of major insurers around the world.

For more information about Accenture’s 2015 Distribution and Agency Management Survey follow this link: https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-insurance-distribution-survey.aspx

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