The last few posts in this series have focused on the types of change life insurers need to consider as they contemplate why they have been relatively unsuccessful in attracting and retaining customers for their retirement services. Simpler, more innovative products and services, relevant advice at scale, better use of big data, and changes in the structure of the industry are all vital issues. The last one on my list is the need to transform from an enterprise-centric to a human-centric organization.
Most insurance companies are enterprise-centric. The corporation controls how its products are created, promoted, selected and sold, and input into its decisions is limited and filtered. To an increasing degree, consumers are showing a preference for firms whose business models are more open and flexible; those which they can influence to their advantage.
They are buying in to the notion of the triple bottom line, where social and environmental goals are at least as important as the enterprise goals.
Many new start-ups have recognized this shift to human-centricity, and are capitalizing on it through opportunities like crowd-funding, crowd-innovation, peer reviews and recommendations, and even crowd-vertising. Their business models reveal an effort to align themselves with the things that matter to their customers rather than simply to themselves—happiness, prosperity and well-being, rather than only services, revenue and profits. As a result, many of these businesses are rapidly gaining traction.
The trend is supported by new regulations that are transferring power from the corporation to the customer.
On the surface, it appears that all of the changes I’ve discussed in my last few posts are to the detriment of insurance firms. In fact, it is simply the traditional model that is being exposed as outdated, and only the conservative, inflexible, enterprise-centric carriers that will be left behind. For those that can adapt their strategies, models and operating systems to their evolving marketplace, the future looks very promising.
It’s all about becoming more relevant. In my next post I’ll spell out the four most important things insurers need to do to ensure their current and future relevance. If you missed the earlier posts in this series, you can find them here.