Two-thirds (67 percent) of insurance customers would consider purchasing
insurance products from organizations other than insurers, including 23
percent who would consider buying from online service providers such as
Google and Amazon, according to new research by Accenture (NYSE:ACN)
based on a survey of more than 6,000 insurance customers in 11 countries.
Forty-three percent of respondents, who could select multiple responses,
said they would consider buying insurance from banks, almost one-quarter
(23 percent) from online service providers, 20 percent from home service
providers, such as telecommunication or home security companies, 14
percent from retailers and 12 percent from car dealers.
"Competition in the insurance industry could quickly intensify as
consumers become open to buying insurance not only from traditional
competitors such as banks but also from Internet giants," said Michael
Lyman, global managing director for management consulting within Accenture's
Insurance industry practice. "Overall, there is a significant
switching risk and we estimate that up to $400 billion in insurance
premiums could change hands within the insurance industry over the next
12 months. The switching risk is important in western markets but even
more so in emerging countries such as China and Brazil, where insurance
customers are even more likely to change providers."
The research shows that loyalty in insurance is a key issue, with 40
percent of consumers likely to switch to another automobile or home
insurance provider over the next 12 months. In the life insurance
market, one-quarter (25 percent) of respondents said they were likely to
cancel an existing contract and more than one-third (35 percent) said
they were likely to take out a new contract with a new provider in the
next 12 months.
Lower prices and more personalized service are the top reasons for
consumers to switch to a new insurer, cited as important or very
important in switching decisions by 87 percent and 80 percent,
respectively, of the insurance customers surveyed. Forty-one percent of
respondents said they were willing to pay more to get personalized
advice when purchasing their insurance.
"The switching economy represents a huge opportunity for many insurers
to gain market share," said Lyman. "Personalization clearly emerges as a
key driver in retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.
Innovation in pricing strategy and the ability to make their customers
feel that they are unique are thus critical to capturing share within
the switching economy."
Insurance customers are open to providing access to their personal
The research also reveals that two-thirds (67 percent) of consumers are
interested in mobile insurance services - such as sending pictures of
their car to report a claim, or displaying their proof of insurance on
their mobile phone - while less than half (46 percent) of the
respondents that are mobile device owners have already used their
tablets, and 37 percent their smartphones, to deal with their insurers.
Also according to the survey, more than one-third (35% percent) of
insurance customers are open to provide access to their usage or
behavior information - such as car-usage or lifesyle information - if
this can give them better value for their insurance coverage. Almost
half (47 percent) of the respondents said it would depend on the
information requested and only 18% were not comfortable doing so.
"While Internet access using personal computers or laptops was the first
step in enabling customers to use digital channels, the real
game-changer has been the growth in mobile," said Lyman. "The mobile
channel offers insurers the opportunity to take customer experience to
the next level, enabling them to become partners of their customers'
everyday life by tailoring offers and interactions to the physical
context, as location-based services can be highly relevant in insurance.
For example, travel insurance-suggested offers can be sent to customers'
mobile phones when landing in an airport abroad, or a claim can be
submitted from an accident scene with supporting photos. Also, as
consumers become more open to providing access to their personal data,
adoption of usage-based insurance enabled by telematics technology will
Chinese and Brazilian customers are the least loyal
The research indicates that Chinese and Brazilian insurance customers
are the least loyal and the most interested in digital services:
"Only those insurers with the digital capabilities and flexible
operating model to adapt effectively to the changing demands of
customers will be able to attract the large number of customers who are
set to leave their less farsighted providers," said Lyman. "Visionary
insurers must also be prepared to conceptualize their business more
broadly, building online communities and offering non-insurance services
- such as USAA helping its customers buy cars - and be willing to create
ecosystems of partners who together can provide the total, personalized
and convenient experience today's customers expect."
Among the survey's other findings:
Examples of innovative insurance services
The research cites the following examples of insurers that are taking
advantage of digital innovation to offer customers better prices and
more relevant services, including services outside of their traditional
Accenture commissioned a survey of 6,135 owners of life and/or auto and
home insurance policies in 11 countries. The online survey was designed
by Accenture and conducted by Lightspeed Research in July 2013. The
6,135 respondents included 1,012 from the U.S., 520 from Italy, 516 from
Brazil, 512 from Japan, 511 each from the UK, France, Spain, Canada and
South Africa, and 510 each from Germany and China.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and
outsourcing company, with approximately 281,000 people serving clients
in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience,
comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions,
and extensive research on the world's most successful companies,
Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance
businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of
US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page
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