Weekly Wrap: World’s most valuable insurance brand revealed

PLUS: 1 in 4 insurance jobs will be replaced by automation by 2025: Report and ‘Virtual insurance broker’ goes live

Weekly Wrap: World’s most valuable insurance brand revealed

Insurance News

By Jordan Lynn

Allianz most valuable insurance brand ranking

Allianz has consolidated its position as the most valuable insurance brand in this year’s Brand Finance Global 500 ranking.

Holding the pole position for three consecutive years, it has become the only insurer to be included in the Top 50 of the world’s strongest brands in 2016.

The Group’s brand value increased by 8.1% from 17.2 billion euros to 18.6 billion euros as a result of strong premium growth, and put Allianz at number 43 among the top 500 global brands (up from 44th place in 2015).

In the 2016 ranking, Brand Finance recognised Allianz’ resilience in a challenging environment and the Group’s strong financial performance driven by its flagship brand, ‘customer centricity’ and ‘digital by default’ approach.

This made it also one of the most brand driven financial services companies in this year’s ranking.

Christian Deuringer, head of global brand management at Allianz, said: “This excellent ranking shows that our flagship brand strategy as well as our clear focus on the customer and on digitalisation are building trust and resonating with our clients around the globe.

“We would like to thank them for their growing loyalty.”

Apple, Google and Samsung Group were the top three most valuable brands of 2016.

1 in 4 insurance jobs will be replaced by automation by 2025: Report

The age of automation is upon us.

With technological advances set to affect up to 45% of all work activities in the United States, professionals in the insurance industry can expect significant disruption in the way they do business, a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute finds.

According to the analysis, as many as 25% of full-time insurance positions could be consolidated or replaced in the next 10 years. The most at-risk positions include those in operations, administrative support, IT and product development, marketing and sales support.

Based on a study of Western European insurers, those in the operations space comprise 46% of the industry workforce currently – that could drop to 33% by 2025.

Similarly, administrative support is projected to fall from 18% of all insurance jobs to 10%; IT from 15% to 12; and marketing from 21% to 20%.

Insurance agents are not left out of that technological revolution. An earlier version of the analysis published in December suggests 60% of tasks currently performed by sales agents could be automated.

Claims adjusters are similarly vulnerable, as technological advances more fully keep up with customer expectations.

Advancements in risk modeling have also made underwriters vulnerable, with up to 35% of tasks capable of being done by machines. A similar report out of the University of Oxford and Deloitte showed a 66% chance of the underwriting role being consolidated.

Researchers assessed roles for how much creativity and empathy is required against the level of set-processes and algorithms that could be implemented.

“To meet these challenges, insurers will need to source, develop, and retain workers with skills in areas such as advanced analytics and agile software development; experience in emerging and web-based technologies; and the ability to translate such capabilities into customer-minded and business-relevant conclusions and results,” McKinsey said in the report.

The authors added that insurance professionals will need to “rethink their priorities right now,” including retraining and redeploying existing talent, identifying critical new skills to insource and retuning value propositions in the scramble to attract new talent.

“The first waves [of competition] are already hitting the beach,” McKinsey said.

‘Virtual insurance broker goes live

A tech-powered startup from MIT is looking to disrupt the auto insurance sector, and brokers in particular, with an online marketplace that relies on robot recommendations to deliver quotes.
Insurify, led by CEO and co-founder Snejina Zacharia, an MIT Sloan Fellow and former director of business development at Gartner, is currently available in 30 US states and has partnered with 82 carriers in real-time, claiming more than any other online platform for car insurance shopping.
With a tech-heavy focus, Insurify said it uses uses predictive modeling and advanced analytics to simplify the shopping experience, facilitated by ‘Evia’ (Expert Virtual Insurance Agent), a patent-pending virtual insurance agent that delivers a quote after the customer texts a photo of their license plate.
Although avatars and robo-advice are not new technologies, the text-based approach to quoting is a new spin.
Zacharia said that in today’s US$160bn car-insurance market, “shopping for insurance is still a laborious, confusing, and frankly, painful process.
“Insurify makes it easier, first with Insurify.com, a recommendation engine that allows drivers to quickly and easily find the cheapest insurance policy for their needs, and second with Evia, a patent-pending virtual agent that will literally take all the thinking out of shopping for car insurance, through text messaging.”
The company takes a data-driven approach to coverage and carrier recommendation through RateRank, a proprietary software that analyzes patterns and matches each user’s risk profile with the best and most affordable insurance carriers and coverage for their unique profile.
Although price is one the most important drivers for switching insurance, people also care about reviews, discounts, customer service, and benefits, Zacharia said. She claims Insurify is the only platform which helps consumers make qualitative and quantitative insurance decisions and recommends the carriers which are the best match for the consumer. Both of these functions are traditionally carried out by a broker.
The company has financial clout as well, having just announced a US$2m seed funding round, led by Rationalwave Capital Partners.

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