In a recent survey of insurance executives, we asked respondents what proportion of sales advice and quotes they currently provide through digital channels, and what proportion they expect to see in three years’ time. Answers ranged from 23 percent for life insurers to 32 percent for auto insurers currently, with a potential for those numbers to grow by another 10 percentage points in three years.
Every stage of the sales process is affected by digital disruption, from discovery of information through to advice and purchase, but most notably on the services side of distribution.
Over the last couple of years, insurance companies have been investing in their processes to make their services more available to customers. This has been driven not only by customer expectations and a desire to increase their convenience and control, but also by the need to reduce distribution costs. Key features of this trend have been a renewed focus on the contact center, the redirection of agents to handle more complex service transactions, and a continued shift toward a full self-service capability, as we mentioned in a previous post.
For companies making the shift to digital, it’s important to recognize that the customer experiences insurers provide are judged not against those of rival carriers but rather their “experiential competitors”—the innovative platform-based service providers such as Amazon and Uber, which have made simplicity their mantra.
For this reason a senior executive at a global Europe-based carrier said at Accenture’s Insurance Day conference in Milan that although the group had recently embarked on a very complex program of digitalization, their over-riding goal was simplicity.
In an omnichannel environment, insurers need to identify and eliminate every element of the customer experience that causes friction and customer effort. By striving for simplicity of access, transactions and offerings, insurers—rather than trying to defend their current positions and their legacy business and distribution models—can proactively position themselves as disruptors.
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Reimagining Insurance Distribution: Accenture Distribution and Agency Management Survey
Insurance distribution is changing. Read Accenture's global insurance distribution study for insights and trends regarding agents, insurers, and the industry.