Digital future will decide insurance ‘winners’

Digital future will decide insurance ‘winners’ | Insurance Business

Digital future will decide insurance ‘winners’
Whichever companies in the insurance industry grab the opportunities digital technology provides will come out on top over the coming years, a leading expert has said.

Helen Wong, director of network product technology & strategy at Verizon APAC, told Insurance Business that the benefits of the digital revolution need to be taken quickly or winners will be easy to find.

“Whoever embraces the digital side first will be the winner coming out,” Wong said.

“Competition is very tough, whether you are buying a car insurance policy, a life insurance policy, and you get all these new types of insurance offerings that are out there in the market. It is about how you get that communication with the customers to make sure that it happens smoothly.

“If you are dealing with one of these companies and you have a bad experience and you want to speak to somebody and your phone line never gets through or you want to make a claim and it takes forever because something got lost in translation or got lost in emails, all of those things, if you are not in the digital game and you don’t see it immediately, it is coming.

 “And, that is not just insurers, that is all companies.”

Wong spoke to Insurance Business upon the release of Verizon’s The digital future for insurance report which details the changing landscape the industry faces.

“Research we commissioned from Forrester Consulting shows that just 16% of insurance companies have 'fully implemented' their digital strategies, compared to 25% across all sectors.

“Just under a third (32%) of insurance firms say the maturity of their digital strategy is 'good'; almost a quarter (23%) say it’s 'poor' or 'very poor,' the report noted.

The report details the power of the consumer who, thanks to the internet and comparison tools, has “more power to change providers than ever before.”

“Customers today want faster, easier, more personalised self-service options through online and mobile channels, with seamless experiences across different product siloes,” the report continues.

“And when they start an interaction in one channel they want their customer information to move along with them between channels seamlessly. The leaders in your sector are already well on the way to offering improved customer service through omni-channel services.

“Digital is making it possible.”

Wong stressed that digital is no longer the playground of the major insurance companies and stressed that smaller businesses may actually have an advantage in the changing market and the key will be grabbing the attention of younger clients as soon as possible.

“If you look at the big companies they are actually the slow ones,” Wong continued. “They have so much legacy in their existing set ups that prevent them from quickly moving.

“If you look at some of, in the US as well, the more successful financial and insurance firms are these newcomers that do all of their or 90% of their transactions online.

“Those are the ones that are really getting the millennials, the young generations.

“If you look at the millennial group, they are the customers of the future for any company and, if you aren’t looking at how to target that younger generation and who’s going to grow with them, you are going to miss the market.”