ICMIF Global Reputation Report unveiled

With a large amount of apathy and neutrality towards the global insurance sector in general, co-operative and mutual insurers have the opportunity to make their voices heard and...

With a large amount of apathy and neutrality towards the global insurance sector in general, co-operative and mutual insurers have the opportunity to make their voices heard and differentiate themselves from competitors, according to a new report by the International Co-operative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF).

The research, which was unveiled at the International Summit of Cooperatives, shows how co-operative and mutual insurers choose to present themselves and how they are perceived by non-stakeholders.

The co-operative and mutual insurance sector represents 26% of the world’s insurance market. The report is aimed at allowing co-operative and mutual insurers to better understand how to enhance their reputation, whether individually or collectively.

The research, carried out by Reputation Consultancy, was commissioned in 2012 by ICMIF and the results cover the sector’s reputation between November 2011 and November 2012. The report focuses on three key aspects: quality of reputation; strength of reputation; and drivers of reputation.

In quality of reputation, the report refers to how differently the sector is seen and understood across the world. For strength of the sector’s reputation, it considers how it is best known for being innovative and having a sense of belonging. The third aspect in the report, the drivers of reputation, looks at various ways in which members could raise reputation at global and regional level.

The research covered 99% of ICMIF members and was undertaken in 16 languages over a 12 month period. One of the key findings is that better reputation was connected to a sustained financial performance. The report also reveals that ICMIF members have a great opportunity to raise the sector’s visibility.

According to the research, collectively, the top five stock companies AXA, Allianz, Aegon, Aviva and Prudential hold 65% of the global conversations taking place, while the mutual and co-operative insurance sector owns just 14.4% of the global conversation. This represents less than its 26.7% market share. The share drops to 9.2% in terms of actually being heard. However, according to the report, 80.3% of the sector’s profile comes from external content, compared to 74.2% in the case of stock companies.

The research shows that external stakeholders do not recognise a significant difference between co-operative/mutual and shareholder based insurers. This, according to the report, can partly be explained by the fact that stock insurers are creating strong associations with themes such as sustainability and corporate citizenship and a high degree of success. Thus co-operative and mutual insurers should devise a unified message that highlights its core values.

ICMIF’s study also focuses on the importance of engaging with key influencers, such as business analysts, international organisations or governments.

The sector is more likely to be heard if they engage in conversations around social issues relating to insurance such as ageing populations, natural disasters, terrorism and climate change.

The report highlights that there are significant reputational differences in the developing and developed world in terms of how people perceive mutual and co-operative insurers.

Reputation is important, explains the report, because it accounts for 63% of a company’s market value. It refers to how a certain organisation is being evaluated by stakeholders at a given point in time.

In terms of financial reputation themes for the co-operative and mutual insurance sector to explore and possibly exploit, the study shows that messages about growth are being linked to financial success; environmental themes focus on rewarding positive behaviours and reducing environmental impact; social themes work best when they are linked to the key social conversations.

The report has been created by using Reputation Tracker, a research tool developed by Reputation Consultancy that evaluates reputation by analysing how the co-op and mutual insurance sector is presented, including all visible online content and conversation.

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