A journey to customer focus or shifting customer?

Is the industry suffering from a failure in being customer focused or customer centric?

Or is the customer shifting, needs shifting, and the insurance industry is just trying to realign old infrastructure and old product around a much different customer than prior generations?

Is this a journey to customer centricity or has it always been part of the insurance culture?

And is this shift (with the help of technology) faster than the insurance industry can keep up?

Some lofty questions I know, but potential disruption crisis has many industry veterans and investors wondering – what is our future?   The industry has various forms of distribution of product – direct or indirect product distribution.  So the question remains, is the industry not offering enough or the right products around future customer?

The Millennial customer is different than prior generations of insurance consumers, so product fit might need to be tweaked.  As people are having children later, renting longer, traveling/vacationing more, and making different choices with their money – they have different risks.

In order to remain customer centric: Product fit – should shift accordingly.

In regards to distribution, the traditional agent and broker distribution has been complemented by online and direct distribution for years.  But now that everyone has a super computer in their pocket (while their walking, driving, or taking Uber), the industry has to embrace this new generational form of purchasing.  Mobile distribution has been the next generation of insurance purchasing: cool apps or embedded insurance products in consumer purchases are new exciting ways of the future.

But again, is this an existential crisis?

Only if the customer, rejects the idea of using a traditional insurance carrier or the industry can’t keep up in the pace of change.

Insurance industry has always been customer focused around product (with a poorer reputation around service – i.e. paying claims).   Trust is a big part of the integrity of the institution of insurance industry – building and maintaining trust is a key competent to its survival.

Institutions are being challenged everywhere you look, not just the insurance industry.

Now is the time to maintain that customer focus and centricity, understand your customer better, their needs and risks, create new product, solve mobile distribution, and improve service and overall customer experience.

The changing customer has & will require internal resources who understand the customer at all levels of the Insurance organization.

Update with the times.

Time for the industry to step up and highlight it’s abilities to execute around the customer on both product and distribution.  This is a huge advantage of the incumbents.  Complacency is giving up.

Then improve where it is failing in customer experience, image, or marketing of new products at customers.

It can be done and the challenge has been set.

The time is now to rally.

About the author

Arnold Smith

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