In my first blog post in this series, I referred briefly to a trend Accenture calls the “Internet of Me”.

It is a trend that is becoming increasingly relevant in the Asian market, as we see the rise of an “always-on” consumer who values personalized service and who demands a high-quality customer experience.

Consumers in many Asian countries are early adopters, and they’re willing to embrace digital channels when they see a clear benefit to doing so. Our research shows that Chinese consumers are among the most willing in the world to buy insurance online. Indeed, 47 percent would consider buying car, home or life insurance from an online service provider—the global average is 23 percent.

Now, with the advent of the Internet of Me, powered by the Internet of Things, Asian insurers should start thinking about what new digital interfaces such as connected cars, the connected home, and wearable computers will mean for their relationships with their customers.

In a nutshell, the Internet of Me is all about using these connected everyday objects to power new insurance customer experiences. A simple and already quite widely-used application is the use of vehicle telematics to personalize premium pricing for car insurance or even to offer usage-based insurance pricing models to consumers.

Digital Insurance Era: Stretch Your Boundaries
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In India, for example, the entrepreneurial Policybazaar.com has carved out a new business for itself by using Chleon’s insurance-telematics-as-a-service to calculate future motor insurance premiums for car drivers.  With the driver’s permission, his or her personal driving score can be provided to insurance companies that have accepted this score as a rating factor.

In this interconnected environment, insurers have the customer insight (from big data analytics) and the customer interfaces they need to build tailored products and services and to more accurately price risk for individuals, specific businesses and their contexts. It is their opening to change the perception that insurance is a commodity product that offers little value until the consumer makes a claim. Instead of simply selling cover, insurers could form part of a hub of services that contribute to people’s day-to-day lives.

One danger is that rivals from industries that have mastered personalization technologies will take control of these new customer interfaces and the data they yield before insurers do. Indeed, the likes of Alibaba and Tencent Holdings already compete at some levels with traditional Chinese insurers, while cooperating with them at others.

Thus, with a proliferation of digital channels reaching deep into individuals’ lives and organizations’ businesses, insurers must start thinking about where they fit into a wider digital ecosystem and what their value is. I’ll have a closer look at the rise of industry platforms and ecosystems in my next post.

To learn more: Download the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2015 report.

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