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Critical Insight on Insurance Sector Roadmap by PwC Global CEO Survey

By Jamie Yodes, Global Insurance Advisory Leader, PwC

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Jamie Yodes, Global Insurance Advisory Leader, PwC

Insurance at a crossroads
The insurance marketplace is transforming, creating openings for some and challenges for others. According to the PwC Global CEO Survey of insurance industry CEOs, 59 percent of insurance CEOs believe there are more opportunities than there were three years ago, but 61 percent see more threats.
 

The fact people are living longer and have more wealth to protect presents insurers with an opportunity. The threats to insurers include mounting commoditization, the squeeze on margins and increase in self-insurance.  This reflects both intensifying price competition and difficulties in conveying the true value of the coverage they sell. Regulation is creating upheaval and more costs on the one side and diverting attention from other strategic challenges on the other.

Disruption on multiple fronts 
Insurance CEOs believe that new regulation, increasing competition, technological developments and changes in distribution will have more of a disruptive impact over the next five years than CEOs in almost all other industries.
 

Realizing the digital potential
Insurance CEOs recognize how digital technology can help them sharpen data analytics (90 Percent), strengthen operational efficiency (88 percent) and enhance customer experience (81 percent).
Yet are they making the most of digital’s potential? Most insurers are still primarily focused on e-commerce – doing what they already do just via a different channel. Leaders are using digital to   engage more closely with customers, fine-tune underwriting and develop  customized risk and financial solutions.  They’re also pushing back frontiers in   areas like real-time risk monitoring, more proactive risk prevention and lowering  the cost of life and pensions options for  younger and less wealthy consumers.

 Questions to ponder: 

• Can you meet the challenge of a changing business environment, including from technology and other FS companies? 
• Is change a threat or an opportunity? 

New ways to compete Seeking out complementary capabilities
 Nearly half of insurance CEOs plan to Two thirds see these tie-ups as an opportunity to gain access to new customers (much more than in other FS sectors).

Business networks, customers and suppliers are seen as the most important focus for strategic collaborations. Examples could include affinity groups or manufacturers. A further possibility is that one of the telecoms or internet giants will want a tie-up with an insurer to help it move into the market.

More than 30 percent of insurance CEOs see alliances as an opportunity to strengthen innovation and gain access to new and emerging technologies. Yet, two-thirds currently do not have plans to partner with start-ups, even though such alliances could provide valuable access to the new ideas and technologies they need.

Attracting fresh ideas and skills
 
A rapidly changing market requires a more diverse work force with new talents. Eighty per cent of insurance CEOs now look for a much broader range of skills than before. At the same time they recognise the challenges, with 71 percent – even more than last year – seeing the limited availability of key skills as a threat to growth.

Diversity is now recognised as a key way to enhance business performance innovation and customer satisfaction. Nearly three-quarter of insurance CEOs have a strategy to promote talent diversity and inclusiveness or plan to seekout talent in different geographies, industries and /or demographic segments.

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