My conclusion: life insurers can attain profitable growth and enhance their return on equity by up to 5 percentage points—if they have the vision and energy to do so.

I began this series of blogs by referring to various pieces of Accenture research that seem to indicate that the time for playing it safe, for just keeping the lights on, is over. Customer expectations, the threat of competition from companies outside the industry and the possibility that the existing value chain will be disrupted… all these factors persuade me that life insurers have to take a more proactive stance towards growth.

This is despite the many challenges they face, including increased regulation and historically low interest rates.

I’ve argued consistently that, to achieve profitable growth, life insurers will not be able to rely on a single lever. Rather they will have to identify and manipulate several levers, with the broad aims of reducing costs and enhancing operational efficiencies. Some of these levers are:

U.S. Life Insurance: Getting to 2020 - Strategies for Profitable Growth
Read the report.

Using as many of these levers as possible, life insurers will find it possible to reignite growth and, as my colleagues Brian DeMaster and Patrick Lyons suggest, they could improve their return on equity from 7.8 percent to 13 percent (using 2012 averages)—an improvement of some 5 percentage points.

It’s not a simple journey, but it’s one that’s worth taking!

For more information, don’t forget their paper, Getting to 2020: Strategies for profitable growth in US life insurance, is available for download.

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