Digitalisation of society and the economy is continuing, and is affecting how organisations and individuals work together, how business is done and how communities grow. One sector embracing this digital change through numerous forward-thinking innovations is insurance – and in particular the co-operative and mutual insurance sector.
Co-operative and mutual insurers account for almost one third of the insurance market. Apart from needing to meet regulatory requirements and respond to changing customer demands and expectations, they have to cope with disruptive technologies and business models while staying true to their co-operative values.
Auditor KPMG has explored the challenges faced by insurers in reinventing their business in the context of this digitalisation. The Empowered for the Future report examines the barriers they face while suggesting solutions, some of which have been implemented in certain organisations. KPMG surveyed over 70 insurance executives to learn about their most recent transformation initiatives.
Success in the insurance industry of the future will not come from simply tweaking the status quo, insurers will need to change virtually every part of their business
“Transformation is difficult, disruptive and time-consuming,” wrote Gary Reader (global head of insurance) and Mary Trussell (global insurance innovation and change lead partner) in their introduction to the report.
“But whether or not you call it a ‘transformation’, what is clear is that insurers understand the urgent need to reinvent themselves. They have the ambition to make transformative changes.”
However, they add, for insurers to “truly reinvent their businesses they will need much more fundamental changes” to their business and operating models than ever before.
Read more: The digital transformation of co-operative insurers
“Success in the insurance industry of the future will not come from simply tweaking the status quo, insurers will need to change virtually every part of their business if they hope to not just survive, but thrive.”
More than a third of respondents said they expected government policy or enforcement agendas to disrupt their business models over the next three years. By contrast, less than a quarter said they expected their operating model to be disrupted by changes in customer behaviour or demographics.
The report argues that while more than a quarter of respondents have started transformation initiatives, insurers need to achieve change at a much more fundamental level.
To address some of these challenges, KPMG suggests a number of steps to reinvention, many of which can be applied to co-operatives across all sectors, not just insurance organisations, such as thinking five to ten years in the future instead of the traditional three, and integrating external thinking.
Insurers must also be willing to disrupt their business model, argues the report, which suggests that insurers try new models and partner with new stakeholders to compete in an innovation-led competitive marketplace.
KPMG also warns insurers that “any effort to reinvent an organisation without first assessing customer preferences is wasted time”. Partnerships are key to future success, adds the report, but organisations need the right structures, models and infrastructure.
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Insurers should also consider alliances with partners outside of insurance to accelerate consumer benefits and expand the value chain, says the study.
According to the most recent World Co-operative Monitor, 40% of the top 300 co-operatives in the world operate in the insurance sector, and the Global Mutual Market Share report, published by the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF), demonstrates how the sector’s global reach is continuing to expand.
Between 2007 and 2014, mutual and co-operative insurers grew their premium income by 30%, compared with 13.6% by the total insurance market during the same period, meaning the global market share of the mutual and co-operative sector grew from 23.7% to 27.0%.
- How are co-operative and mutual insurers responding to these challenges? The International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation explains what are the key barriers faced by mutual and co-operative insurers and how are they implementing transformational changes. Read the article here.
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