We recently had the pleasure of joining McKinsey & Company for their Direct Forum 2013 in Munich, bringing together CEOs and other top executives from companies like Allianz and Direct Line to discuss the future of the Direct Insurance market as well as the impact of digital trends on the industry.
The day included one session on “Digital Frontline Capabilities” and another on “Ensuring Profitability.” Throughout the event, a number of key themes came out of the sessions that apply to both the Distribution & Direct models:
Compete on more than price. In order to stay relevant in both the Distribution & Direct channels, organizations need to find ways to stay top of mind and educate prospects and customers. Social media will be a valuable source to passively provide information where customers and prospects already exist.
Direct is established. Though Direct has historically been seen as the pesky competitor, there has been a clear shift in the market that shows top Distribution organizations like Allianz continuing to invest in their agent force while also building out a Direct Model. These companies have simply realized they have to meet customers where they are. In the UK, for example, over 50% of all motor policies are sold via Direct Channels.
Customer-centricity is key. The better you know your customer, the bigger your advantage. Customers expect a personalized sales cycle and personalized service throughout their time as your client. Insurance organizations at the McKinsey event were quick to point out that retention, not acquisition, is their core problem today. It’s critical that organizations develop unique content and response strategies to meet the customer where they are.
Guest speaker Davide Passero CEO of Genertel, an insurance company based in Italy, provided an exceptional session on the key areas of focus for Genertal:
- Superior Customer Insight
- Sound Branding
- Multichannel Management
- Friendly Product Offer
- State of the art service
- Smart People Engagement
There’s a clear opportunity in the market for Direct, Multichannel, and Distribution organizations if they remember to keep the focus on serving the customer best.