The traditional business model for insurance is in trouble, even though it remains a significant source of revenue. Core products are now seen as undifferentiated commodities. New digital companies and service providers are coming into the picture from across industry lines. Technology innovation will make some aspects of insurance obsolete.
To succeed in the long term insurers need to move “beyond insurance” into new growth areas in both commercial and personal lines. Insurers can help to make disruptive innovations a safe reality. They can also become trusted life advisors to clients.
In the face of new competition and dramatic technology and industry change, insurers should be pursuing two growth options in particular:
Going “back to the future” with regard to the insurance industry’s role in society. This is to help make commercial and technological inventions, especially disruptive ones, into safe realities—in effect, helping to translate technological possibilities into human-centric solutions.
Insurers can help protect society as these technologies advance. Insurance has always served as a proxy and enforcement arm for regulation and can do so now, as well.
Becoming a trusted advisor to help customers meet the unique needs that will arise as technologies and societies change. The insurer becomes a hub or aggregator or concierge that brings together a series of offerings from a variety of related providers, with the goal of addressing an increasingly higher percentage of the needs and intentions of individuals and corporations.
Insurers should take concrete steps to leap to new growth curves.
Create a “red team”. To deal with a risk-averse culture, and other internal constraints, firms should launch a “red team” or a separate entity whose role is to detect new customer needs and create new services.
Transform to a human-centric culture. Insurers need to move to the same side of the table as customers, addressing an increasing part of their needs through service ecosystems.
Partner with technology companies or other innovators to create new services. In critical technology areas, insurers should be carving out a role for themselves in partnership with tech companies.