When it comes to digital insurance distribution, insurers can no longer expect to operate within their four walls. Ecosystems, partnerships and ‘living services’—that is, services that are embedded within customers’ lives and constantly evolve to become more relevant, engaging and useful—are increasingly important for deepening customer relationships.

Ecosystems: End-to-end buying experience

The Accenture Distribution and Agency Management Survey found that 40 percent of insurers are already partnering with non-insurance companies to offer customers a broader range of products and services, or are already doing so. In addition, 46 percent are working with start-ups and external partners, or have prioritized doing so.

These are clear indicators that insurers are abandoning a historically risk-averse mindset to better drive digital innovation. Living services, in particular, can help companies prevent losses from occurring—or if they do occur, to catch them earlier and enable people to take action to prevent more damage from resulting.

The key to deriving value from an ecosystem is for insurers to adopt a proactive role. Considerations include:

  1. Do you own the experience, or will you be part of another company’s experience?
  2. What is the nature of the offer? Is it an insurance product, or is insurance just one aspect of the offer? For example, embedding car insurance within a vehicle purchase experience is an example of the latter.
  3. Are you positioned to capture and capitalize on the data generated from the customer experience?
  4. What are the competitive dynamics of the ecosystem? Is it an exclusive relationship with ecosystem partners or is it an open marketplace?

Ultimately, insurers can take advantage of ecosystem partnerships to drive digital innovation, as well as enable them to access more customer data, foster stronger relationships and achieve a competitive advantage.

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