For an industry that seeks to provide peace of mind to clients, insurance could sure use some of its own. Over the past few years, insurers and brokers have grappled with a surge of disruptions, including increasingly fierce competition, rapid technological advancements, and deteriorating rates of customer trust and loyalty.
It appears this is just the beginning. We’re not witnessing a string of bad luck or some temporary turbulence, but an extensive, top-to-bottom shift in the market. Brokers can no longer afford to merely sell insurance; they need to offer additional value to their clients.
If you’re a regular reader of the KPA blog, you may recognize this as a topic we’ve written about several times recently. This week, we’d like to turn your attention to an article in the Economist titled “The coming revolution in insurance: Technological change and competition disrupt a complacent industry.”
Published in 2017, the article highlights a number of now-endemic disruptive forces that were already beginning to shape the insurance industry then. Take a look at how P&C brokers were contending with an unfamiliar environment of “relentless pressure”:
“[P]rofitability has steadily deteriorated. The American P&C industry, for instance, has seen its ‘combined ratio,’ which expresses claims and costs as a percentage of premium revenue, steadily creep up from 96.2% in 2013 to 97.8% in 2015, and to an estimated 100.3% for 2016 (ie, a net underwriting loss). Henrik Naujoks of Bain & Company, a consultancy, says this has left such insurers facing a stark choice: become low-cost providers, or differentiate themselves through the services they provide.
One fairly simple way to offer distinctive services is to use existing data in new ways. Insurers have long drawn up worst-case scenarios to estimate the losses they would incur from, say, a natural catastrophe. But some have started working with clients and local authorities on preparing for such events; they are becoming, in effect, risk-prevention consultants.”