Is insurance ready for innovation?

 

Let’s benefit from this period of the beginning of the year to let all our wishes be known, even the craziest. All together now: “it is forbidden to forbid”!
We have a dream: “To make distributing insurance even more innovative!”.
Numerous directors and managers develop innovative approaches, go against the norm, meet together at round tables. As consumers, these innovations still appear to us as a bit shy, when compared to Google, Facebook, Amazon developments…
Information or speculation? Or quite simply, a difficulty to understand the ability to innovate in a world barely subjected to real competition?
Why innovate? To develop a “we are an innovative company!” type stance, or more simply, as the broadest element of an aggressive strategy?
To innovate is to survive. The naturally shrewd consumer expects an innovative approach from their insurer, in tune with the developments of the Company. Other sectors, in which companies’ distribution models have not been developed, have seen the giant players in the market disappear, even though they are the public’s choice. Let’s take as example the Sound and the Image, and a Titanic just disappearing from the Champs Elysées.
For more than twenty years, innovation has only been spoken about in the distribution of insurance. The launch of direct insurance by telephone in the 80s allowed the market to be revolutionised. Many “already” saw themselves, in the wake of Direct Line, reaping 50% of the market over a few years. MSIs had already taken this share of the market, but with no revolution, or – to make more of a trend – no “going against the norm” came to upset the apple cart. A three-card trick, one player chasing another.
Bank insurers developing in traditional insurers’ arenas, unions without intermediaries winning their share beyond car insurance, and Direct insurers sustaining a modest slice of the cake, steady at below 5%.
The using of Smartphones, insurance going online and the change in regulations (Hamon Act), are these elements finally going to lead players into going against this norm, this so-longed for change? Each major player taking greater pride in launching their Big Data project, their Social Networks, their Sales Force, their Linked Objects or “Client Centricity”…
The innovation revolution thus seems in progress. Must we start from scratch now? One day we will speak about the “Spring of insurance” – and why not now, in 2014?
Olivier Blandin, ACCRMA President
extract from the Bank Insurance Laboratory newsletter from January 2014

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