I’m convinced that many insurers are tired of hearing research analysts say how slow the industry is in responding to modern technologies and how far behind it is in the race to capture digital market share. Evidence of insurers’ struggle with transformation is especially notable in the customer experience arena, where there’s plenty of data citing customer preference vs. actual experience across a host of online and offline channels.
Those who don’t heed the digital readiness warnings of research firms may be in for a jolt. Incumbent insurers are struggling to play catch-up — not just to compete, but to survive to players that are both funding and snatching innovation-based start-ups to make their customer experience vision a reality. This flurry of insurtech activity is a new development for the industry, and represents innovation opportunities for both insurers and start-ups alike. Further, the size of carriers making significant investments is no longer restricted to publicly held Tier 1 players: CUNA Mutual and its SafetyNet business unit recently joined the list of insurers with official, named innovation units.
At the same time, there is a sense of growing urgency in meeting the ever-changing needs of the customer. For example, the customer wants to be able to conduct business 24/7, which means insurers at a minimum must provide them with secure, real-time access to their information. And although customers want to conduct business online, they want tailor-made, clear, instant and easy-to-understand pricing and claims information. Few would argue that digital technology — and specifically, cloud computing — is the means to this end.
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