Their propensity to buy insurance from non-insurers is higher than the global sample.

I have been reading the Accenture 2013 Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey with great interest. My international colleagues Jean-François Gasc, Thomi Meyer and Erik Sandquist have all been blogging about these results—and their thoughts are highly stimulating—but I want to look at the results from a South African and emerging market point of view.

What, if anything, can we learn by comparing the findings for South Africa with the global averages, and also those of other emerging markets?

The first point that struck me is the close parallel between South Africa and the rest of the world in relation to many of the key data points. For example, the survey showed that large proportions of insurance consumers would consider buying insurance from non-insurance companies (see Question #7):

  • 55 percent in South Africa (43 percent globally) would buy from traditional competitors like banks.
  • 22 percent in South Africa (23 percent globally) would buy from online service providers like Amazon and Google.
  • 19 percent in South Africa (20 percent globally) would buy from home services providers, like security companies.
  • 16 percent in South Africa (14 percent globally) would buy from retailers.
  • 14 percent in South Africa (12 percent globally) would buy from car dealers.
The Digital Insurer: Playing to Win
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These were the findings that the international media found most noteworthy, and they provoked massive coverage because they showed how real the external threat faced by insurers is. This threat is compounded by consumers’ clear demand for service that is more personalised, more relevant to their needs. Globally, 80 percent of customers would consider personalized services as an important factor in switching insurance providers, whereas the proportion rises to 90 percent in South Africa.

These and other findings make one important point that we in the industry sometimes underestimate: the pressures that are facing insurers globally are equally—if not more—current here. Or, to put it differently, South African consumers are perhaps even more demanding and digitally savvy than their counterparts elsewhere.

As the researchers conclude: it’s time to start playing to win rather than just treading water.

Read the full Accenture 2013 Consumer-Driven Insurance Survey here, or use our online data-visualisation tool to customise the data.

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