In this blog series, I’m using the Fjord Trends 2019 to spark ideas about how life, pensions and investments (LP&I) providers can stand out from the crowd. The priority? Creating relevant products and services that deliver value to consumers (both advisers and end-clients). Crucially, at a time when consumers are scrutinising the behaviour of all organisations – from data misuse to a lack of sustainability and environmental awareness – providers need to think much more carefully about what their brands mean, and how they’ll be interpreted. That means reassessing not just how they go to market, but how strongly their products and services resonate with individual consumers and the way they live their lives.

Tackling consumer scepticism

One of this year’s Fjord Trends, Data minimalism, looks at how companies can tackle consumer scepticism over how their data is gathered and what it’s being used for. The watchword here? Transparency. Whilst it’s fair to say that LP&I providers are still grappling with how best to embrace data, the recommendation is to think in terms of how best to minimise the data needed to provide a personalised service to advisers and end-clients. In doing so, they should reassure consumers that they’re using and storing that data responsibly.

Consumers want a clear trade-off. If they’re surrendering their data, they expect to receive value in return. That could mean developing propositions that use data to enable proactive savings nudges, effortless saving and/or personalised experiences for end-clients, and personalised, insight-led, client lead-generation opportunities for advisers. One startup in the LP&I space, for example, provides a service that that can calculate the number of steps a user takes in a day and the number of steps they need for a healthy lifestyle; in effect demonstrating that the data is collated to generate proactive recommendations to help its clients live healthier lives.

As well as ensuring that they use customer data to offer an enhanced customer experience, LP&I providers may want to carefully consider what they do with that data once they have it. That means that algorithmic fairness will continue to be absolutely vital. As providers increasingly rely on algorithms for key business decisions they need to devote more effort to prevent any bias creeping in. Public transparency alone isn’t enough. Companies will need tools that can open up AI ‘black boxes’ to investigate potential bias in data sources.

The future of mobility

Another Fjord Trend, Ahead of the curb, focuses on mobility services as the new cornerstone for an enhanced customer experience. As things stand, the enormous upsurge in mobility services means urban consumers are starting to complain about mobile service clutter and a fragmented user experience (eg Uber, Kapten, bicycle-sharing schemes, Citymapper etc).

Although mobility as a trend is not on first glance obviously linked to the LP&I industry, there are consequences that providers may want to consider. Organisations in all industries need to make sure that they’re part of the solution – and not part of the problem. That means designing mobile apps to integrate with a single coherent ecosystem built on real-time needs. LP&I providers should recognise that they can no longer afford to offer fixed products. Customers expect all types of providers to develop new business models that address mobility and consider it in the existing service layer. This will mean pursuing more collaboration, whether through white labelling, partnerships or greater use of APIs.

By co-developing insurance products that evolve with each customer’s inter-generational financial protection – and lifestyle – needs, providers can ensure their products will remain relevant to whatever life stage the customer is in. For example, a flexible life insurance product that offers discounts based on an individual’s weekly activity – potentially linked to a bicycle-sharing scheme. This will enable automatically discounted premiums based on the customer’s miles cycled, while also incentivising the customer to cycle further by providing discounts for using the bicycle-sharing scheme.

In my next post I’ll explore three more Fjord Trends. They’re all about what relevance means in a world defined by digital – and how LP&I providers can achieve it. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear your views. Please leave a comment or reach out to me on LinkedIn. Thanks for reading.

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