Digital Insurance in Italy. The Time to Act Is Now

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1 Digital Insurance in Italy The Time to Act Is Now

2 The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world s leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-forprofit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep in sight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable compet itive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 81 offices in 45 countries. For more information, please visit bcg.com.

3 Digital Insurance in Italy The Time to Act Is Now Ugo Cotroneo emanuele costa Giovanni Ciarlariello in collaboration with March 2015 The Boston Consulting Group

4 Contents 3 executive summary 5 Digitization Is a Disruptive Trend The Digital Economy Italy s Digital Evolution 7 Follow Your Clients Online The Effect of Digital Channels The Potential Is Untapped Changing the Go-to-Market Approach 12 Mobile is the Emerging Digital Trend Providing a Satisfactory Mobile Experience Engaging Customers 16 A Transformation Journey Phase One: Preparing the Foundation Phase Two: Digitizing the Business Model Phase Three: Creating a Distinguishing Digital Spike Taking a Cultural Leap 20 Loss Prevention: A Digital Opportunity Reducing Motor Vehicle Risks Reducing Health Care and Household Risks 23 The Main Challenge: Internal Legacies Legacy IT Legacy Processes Organization Management Buy-In Budget Objections 26 The Time to Act Is Now 27 Note to the Reader 2 Digital Insurance in Italy

5 Executive Summary Digitization is receiving widespread attention from business leaders. The global megatrend is causing customers to modify their purchasing habits and expectations when buying new products and services, including insurance. Italy is not excluded from this force that is changing the companycustomer relationship. Customer behaviors highlight the relevance of digital touchpoints, and e-commerce is on the rise, fostered by the widespread use of mobile devices. The insurance industry s awareness in Italy has rapidly increased in the past years, but only a few players have a clear path of digital transformation already ongoing. This report, a collaboration of The Boston Consulting Group and Google, outlines the opportunities and threats that lie ahead for Italian insurers and makes the case that the time to act is now. First, we observe that at least 30 billion to 36 billion in premiums is affected by customers researching insurance online, making it a must for insurers to be present where customers are looking for information and advice, comparing products and prices, and forming their purchase decisions. Furthermore, we argue that insurers should build their digital presence considering the fast-growing importance of mobile connectivity; Google s experience shows that searches using smartphones and tablets across multiple insurance lines have increased dramatically since This means that insurers should not only ensure a user-friendly display of information and a simple interface but also take advantage of mobile technology that enables geo-fencing and click-to-call functionality. Moreover, this report addresses the typical dilemma of how to start a digital transformation with a three-phase approach: laying the foundation with some no-regret initiatives, such as simplifying interaction The Boston Consulting Group 3

6 at digital touchpoints and gradually building up data assets; digitizing the business model by developing digital tools and applications that facilitate sales and service the customer; and finally, developing competitive differentiation with a uniquely recognized digital spike. In addition, we stress the key role that an innovation-oriented culture plays in the success of a digital transformation. Looking at specific digital opportunities in insurance, we see that improving loss-prevention effectiveness has huge, untapped potential. According to BCG, insurers that take this step could improve their operating margins by as much as 1 to 2 percent of premiums. Reducing motor vehicle risks is a good place to start, owing to the widespread use of telematics, or black boxes. Connectivity is also rapidly spreading in health care and household management, making them promising areas for innovation, too. Finally, we conclude with a collection of the challenges that Italian insurers believe are hampering their digital development, such as the complexity of their legacy IT systems and current processes. A lack of alignment among an organization s various stakeholders and the inability to secure management buy-in and investment are also stalling digital efforts. To help managers address these challenges, we offer some practical suggestions stemming from our experience and that of successful innovators. The report draws on BCG s experience and research in the digital insurance sector in Italy and abroad; analysis and insights from Google s research and experts; and interviews jointly conducted by BCG and Google with several Italian insurance managers to provide a new, practical, Italy-specific perspective on the insurers digital opportunity. 4 Digital Insurance in Italy

7 DIGITIZATION IS A DISRUPTIVE TREND Digitization is everywhere. Today, there are 7.3 billion mobile-phone subscriptions, 1 3 billion Internet users, 2 and 2 billion social-media users. 3 There are more digital connections in the world than there are people. Digital innovation happens at a rapid pace, and its influence spreads at an exponential rate. The Digital Economy The new digital economy is a product of digitization and is radically different from the traditional one. If we consider the ways companies interact with their customers, digitization has increased the number of touchpoints, improved the ability to target specific segments, and broadened and accelerated the reach of companies actions. Digitization is driving a fundamental shift in the relationships that companies have with their customers. Digitization is also a major disruptive force that has completely reshaped traditional business models that have been in place for decades; so-called digital disruptors have emerged in many industries. Digitization is not about doing the same things only faster or cheaper; rather, it is about enabling new business ideas and business models from a sharing economy to global scalable platforms. There are many examples of winning companies with digital DNA. Uber, the app-based transportation network and taxi company, has been quickly disrupting city transportation services and the traditional taxi business. Netflix, a content distributor, has upended the media industry, causing giants such as Blockbuster to yield to more agile and digital-savvy players. Every day there are new businesses being created that are generating revenues in new ways. Digital innovation is never ending. Digital giants such as Google and Amazon continuously innovate, reinventing their value proposition to remain relevant to their customers and making their industries fluid and dynamic. Italy s Digital Evolution As of October 2014, there were 41 million Internet users in Italy, 4 more than 25 million active social-network users, 5 and about 95 million active mobile-phone subscriptions. 6 The country s Internet penetration of 66 percent is lower than that of other advanced economies in Western Europe. In Norway, for example, Internet penetration is 87 percent. However, Italy s Internet usage has grown in the past two years by 6.8 percent, and 84 percent of the population use the Internet if we only consider people between the ages of 11 and 74. What is surprising about Italy is the widespread use of mobile phones, which had a The Boston Consulting Group 5

8 market penetration of 82.2 percent in Smartphones are increasing their share among mobile devices and are projected to grow from 49.5 percent in 2014 to almost 72 percent in Rapid smartphone adoption is fueling the dramatic increase in online usage. Every day, more than 15 million Italians access the Internet from their smartphones, compared with 13 million people who log on from their personal computers and 5 million who access it from their tablets. 8 E-commerce is also growing. According to a study from Politecnico di Milano, revenue from e-commerce sales totaled about 13 billion in 2014 after growing, on average, 18 percent per year since An even more accelerated growth pattern applies for purchasing transactions from mobile devices. Notes 1. GSMA Intelligence, https://gsmaintelligence.com/, January, EMarketer, Worldwide Internet and Mobile Users, January, We Are Social, Digital Statshot 002, -statshot Audiweb Database (powered by Nielsen), October Audiweb Database (powered by Nielsen), October AGCOM, Osservatorio trimestrale sulle Telecomunicazioni, September EMarketer, Smartphone Users and Penetration in Western Europe, by Country, 2013 through Audiweb Database (powered by Nielsen), October Pagamenti elettronici e mobile payment & commerce: i valori del transato, Osservatori.net. 6 Digital Insurance in Italy

9 FOLLOW YOUR CLIENTS ONLINE Digital transformation has come to the insurance industry, bringing with it a huge business opportunity that will grow in the coming years. Given that most insurance players are still exploring the digital landscape, the potential is mostly untapped. Interestingly, the 2014 BCG Global Innovators Survey which collected the opinions of more than 1,500 senior executives worldwide shows that insurance managers are well aware of the coming impact of digitization. In fact, this survey reveals that about 40 percent of insurance executives expect big data and mobile devices to have a significant impact on the industry over the next three to five years, placing insurance behind only the technology and telecommunications industries in terms of the most affected sectors. Like executives in many other industries, however, a significantly lower percentage of insurance managers are actively targeting big data and mobile devices in their innovation programs, hence missing the opportunity. (See Exhibit 1.) The Effect of Digital Channels A recent BCG survey on global consumer sentiment highlighted that in Italy, insurance consumers are turning to digital channels. According to the research, about 50 to 55 percent of protection, health, and property and casualty (P&C) consumers require both relationship channels (an agent, bank, or broker) and digital channels. In addition, approximately 15 percent of customers are ready to transition to digital-only interactions, bringing the overall reach of digital channels to almost 70 percent of insurance customers in terms of their future buying channels. The remaining customers, a little more than 30 percent, still prefer relationship channels only, but that number is decreasing. (See Exhibit 2.) From 2008 through 2013, online searches related to insurance grew 128 percent. Italian consumers are not only leaning toward digital channels but also making a significant part of their purchasing decisions outside insurers domains. Consumers are increasingly using digital tools to search for product information, prices, and reviews. From 2008 through 2013, online searches related to insurance grew 128 percent, and more specifically, searches related to car insurance grew 185 percent. These numbers give us a sense of the massive business opportunity for digital insurance in The Boston Consulting Group 7

10 Exhibit 1 Many Insurance Executives Expect Digital Products to Have a High Impact, but Few Are Taking Action Impact of mobile products 1 Respondents actively targeting mobile products in their innovation program (%) 50 Behavior = belief 40 Technology (so ware) 30 Pharma/biotech/health care Technology (IT services) Insurance Telecommunications 20 Chemicals Consumer products Retail Financial services Technology (hardware) 10 Autos/motor vehicles Energy Industrial/manufacturing Tech industry Other industry Average Source: 2014 BCG Global Innovators Survey. 1 There is a similar pattern in other digital areas, such as big-data analytics. Respondents expecting a significant impact from mobile products over the next three to five years (%) Exhibit 2 Many Insurance Customers in Italy Are Already Hybrids Protection 1 Health 1 Property and casualty 1 Owners (%) Owners (%) Owners (%) % % % Attitude toward digital channels % % % % 34% 37% Income Low Medium High Low Medium High Low Medium High Prefer digital channels Hybrids Prefer relationship channels Source: 2012 BCG Global Consumer Sentiment Survey. Note: Interviewees were selected from 11 income brackets. Interviewees were asked this question: In general, how useful are or would the following interactions modes be to you when it comes to dealing with your insurance providers? 1 Any apparent discrepancies in totals are the result of rounding. 8 Digital Insurance in Italy

11 Italy. Let s take this a step further, however. A recent market study by Google shows, by insurance category, the share of consumers that use the Web to gather information and compare prices. Using this research, we can better quantify the size of the opportunity. Considering that the overall 2013 retail P&C market (that is, excluding commercial insurance) in Italy was worth 28 billion to 30 billion in premiums and that the percentage of insurance buyers who research online ranges from 29 percent (those interested in household insurance) to 56 percent (those researching automotive insurance), we can estimate that the value of digital insurance premiums is approximately 12 billion to 14 billion (assuming the middle of the range). (See Exhibit 3.) With regards to the life insurance business, we start from an overall market of roughly 80 billion in retail life-insurance premiums. Furthermore, our data suggests that about 50 percent of buyers of financial products research online for information before purchasing. Hence, even if we prudently assume that the percentage of life insurance buyers researching online is much lower than the broad average for financial products because of the inherent complexity of the product say 20 to 30 percent of buyers then we can estimate that the value of digital life-insurance premiums is 18 billion to 22 billion. This brings the total value of digital insurance premiums to 30 billion to 36 billion. This estimate is expected to increase as prospective customers change their purchasing behaviors. The BCG 2012 Insurance and New Media Consumer Survey shows that 43 percent of respondents met an agent in person for past transactions, but only 40 percent will do so for future transactions. In addition, the use of digital channels is on the rise: 58 percent of respondents will visit company websites, compared with 18 percent who did so for past transactions, and 45 percent will use a Web search engine, compared with 9 percent who did so in the past. Demographics will play a significant part in fueling the size of the opportunity in the future. Younger Italians are significantly more Exhibit 3 The Size of the Insurance Market Influenced by the Web Is Already 30 Billion to 36 Billion Property and casualty * Life * Retail premiums in the Italian market, billion to 30 billion 79 billion to 81 billion Purchasers who researched online before buying insurance 29 56% 20 30% Total premiums affected by online search 12 billion 18 billion to to 14 billion 22 billion 30 billion to 36 billion Sources: ANIA; Google Consumer Barometer. * Estimates. Including European Union companies. Assuming middle of range. The Boston Consulting Group 9

12 proficient in using digital resources and prefer those channels over the traditional ones. The Potential Is Untapped BCG and Google conducted interviews with major industry players and found that there is a shared sense of urgency for digital transformation. Most players recognize the impact of digital channels. Nonetheless, there is widespread concern given that the industry is unprepared to cope because of its structural shortcomings. Since 2007, traditional insurers have been gradually losing online brand share to direct players and aggregators companies that have built a significant position online in recent years. Traditional insurers brand share of overall online insurance searches declined from 39 percent in 2007 to 34 percent in 2014, well below their fair share when we consider premium revenues. (See Exhibit 4.) By contrast, direct insurers and then aggregators filled this gap. Aggregators alone represented almost a fifth (17 percent) of online brand share in When we compare online brand share with real brand share for each player (excluding aggregators), the vast majority of traditional insurers is underrepresented online. (See Exhibit 5.) If we consider emerging buying behaviors, the gap between online and real brand share should be worrisome for established insurers in the medium term and calls for a review of their go-to-market strategy. That said, some early recovery signs in 2014 might indicate a greater focus by traditional insurers on advertising and an online presence. Changing the Go-to-Market Approach Changing the way an insurer interacts with its clients is critical to harvesting the potential of digital insurance. With rising acquisition costs and surging churn rates, customer retention is an imperative for Italian insurers. For example, churn rates for third-party-liability automotive insurance in Italy increased from less than 10 percent to approximately 20 percent in the past five years. To be successful, industry players should devote the effort necessary to truly understand the moments of truth in the customer jour- Exhibit 4 Online Brand Share Is Dominated by Direct Players and Aggregators Insurers brand share of online search (%) Traditional insurers Direct players 2010 Aggregators Trend inversion in 2014 potentially signals efforts by traditional insurers to increase advertising and improve Web presence Source: Google proprietary data. Note: Any apparent discrepancies in totals are the result of rounding. 10 Digital Insurance in Italy

13 Exhibit 5 Most Traditional Insurers Are Underrepresented in Online Share Brands associated with insurance online queries, 2014 (%) Online market position #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 Others 1 Online share versus market share Direct players Traditional insurers Source: Google proprietary data. Note: Online brand share, excluding aggregators. 1 Mostly traditional insurance companies. ney and explore how digital channels can help improve the customer experience at those touchpoints. BCG experience shows that when improving the digital experience for customers, it is critical to segment them on the basis of behaviors and needs, since the reasons for an insurance purchase may vary significantly across clusters of consumers. Digital features multiply the number of possibilities to personalize the selling proposition if the insurer is able to identify the segment in which a customer belongs early on in the sales process. Digital channels have multiplied the number of touchpoints and taken away the early stages of the sales process when customers look for information, compare companies, and form a buying decision from physical channels. Digital channels provide a huge opportunity to listen to our clients. We are not doing it seriously, and churn rates prove it. Thus, having a direct insurance subsidiary alongside traditional operations is not sufficient anymore. But, indeed, we see an opportunity to better leverage the specific experience and skills that such subsidiaries have typically developed. Some insurers have invested in digital marketing not only to target consumers more directly and effectively but also to gain an additional opportunity to interact and engage with their clients. For example, SunLife, a direct-distribution brand of AXA, structured its online presence to increase trust and brand recognition through extensive customer reviews and clearer corporate communications. Other insurers have taken advantage of multiple digital channels. For instance, in 2012, Allianz Germany further expanded its multichannel approach and established social networks as an additional platform for sales agents. These and other success stories show that digital channels enable a wide range of opportunities for insurers to shape the customer experience across the entire front end of a company. Head of marketing at a large insurance group The Boston Consulting Group 11

14 Mobile Is the EMERGING DIGITAL TREND Mobile devices are a major consumer trend in Italy. In 2014, the number of mobile-device users was 50.7 million, of which 24.1 million were equipped with smartphones. On a daily basis, these smartphone users made 16.6 million connections and spent an average of 1 hour and 37 minutes online, exceeding the number of connections and the amount of time spent online by users of traditional desktops. 1 By 2018, the number of smartphone users will climb to 37 million. The importance of mobile devices will increase over time, as younger consumers are naturally more inclined to use these devices. The 2013 BCG Global Consumer Sentiment Survey highlights that 76 percent of Italian respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 use a smartphone, compared with 31 percent over the age of 65; similarly, 30 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 use a smartphone as a shopping platform, compared with 5 percent over the age of 65. A step change is expected as those under the age of 18, who consider using mobile devices standard practice, gain purchasing power. The presence of mobile devices has become so ubiquitous that, according to Google, 78 percent of all smartphone users are online daily with their device, compared with 60 percent of laptop users and 49 percent of tablet users. Mobile shopping is rapidly gaining share in Italy. Research by comscore indicates that the penetration rate of mobile commerce compared with total e-commerce in Italy is the second highest in Europe and the fastest growing. (See Exhibit 6.) Mobile shoppers are usually frequent purchasers; approximately 60 percent buy something through a mobile device at least once a month. 2 By 2018, the number of smartphone users will climb to 37 million. The use of location services on smartphones is growing exponentially: 92 percent of smartphone users access their phone to find information on local stores, and 28 percent access local information every day. More important, those who research local information are more likely to engage in specific actions: com- Score s research indicates that 48 percent contacted stores directly, 60 percent visited them, and 30 percent purchased something. 3 Nonetheless, it would be an error to envision mobile devices purely as substitutes for traditional laptop connections. According to a study by Google and TNS, 51 percent of consumers use at least two types of devices to connect to 12 Digital Insurance in Italy

15 Exhibit 6 Mobile E-commerce in Italy Is Widespread and Fast Growing Mobile e-commerce in Europe (%) Growth across European countries averaged 42.5% UK Italy Germany Spain France Penetration (m-commerce compared with total e-commerce) Year-over-year growth Italy is Europe s second-highest market when m-commerce is compared with total e-commerce and is the fastest growing Source: ComScore, The Role of Mobile in Online Shopping and Buying, May 21, the Internet, and 13 percent of consumers connect using up to three types of devices. This phenomenon, referred to as multiscreening, is another important trend and proves that digital interaction should not be thought of as a linear process. Rather, connecting with consumers happens on a number of devices and platforms that are activated from various places. In 2015, the potential number of personal connected devices will increase from three a laptop, tablet, and smartphone to six, as consumers add Web TV, smart watches, and connected cars to their mix, giving companies multiple new touchpoints. Providing a Satisfactory Mobile Experience The use of new devices is booming among insurance customers. Google s experience shows that searches using smartphones across multiple insurance lines increased dramatically since (See Exhibit 7.) However, as of September 2014, only two out of five major insurance groups in Italy had a native mobile site, or m-site. In addition, these m-sites mainly focused on providing fast quotes and agency locations; they didn t offer a complete range of services. The remaining three insurance groups presented a smaller version of their desktop website to mobile users, deteriorating the customer experience. This is even more surprising if we consider that statistics from Google show that 67 percent of consumers who access the Internet through a smartphone or tablet are more likely to take action buy a product, complete a form, or download an app on a website that is optimized for mobile devices. 4 Engaging Customers A large number of insurers outside Italy have redesigned their entire approach for mobile devices, adopting simplicity and ease of use to improve the customer experience. For example, Oscar, a U.S.-based health-insurance company, designed a straightforward instantquote system for mobile devices that lets customers easily adjust predefined parameters to receive instant pricing information. More broadly, mobile devices should be part of a multichannel business model, in order to The Boston Consulting Group 13

16 Exhibit 7 The Use of Mobile Devices in Insurance Searches Is Booming Car insurance Health insurance CAGR +158% 50 CAGR +158% Life insurance Home insurance CAGR +156% 50 CAGR +145% Mobile search queries (indexed) Source: Google internal data. drive customers to physical locations. Creating a smooth customer process requires an understanding of consumer habits and effective cooperation with the distribution network. Some real-world examples from other industries may provide food for thought. Nissan used mobile technology to increase the number of digital leads for dealerships. In July 2013, the automotive company launched a Nissan Note group for the Waze app that helps drivers locate the closest dealership for test-driving the car. In November 2013, Nissan launched a geo-fencing campaign: customers who entered a defined geographic area received dynamic advertising banners that included click-to-call buttons to book a test-drive and directed potential customers to nearby dealerships. As a result of both efforts, 20 percent of Nissan s digital leads came from mobile devices in 2013, and 35 percent of its global Web traffic now comes from mobile devices in the U.S. Carrefour Bank s experience demonstrates how mobile devices can be instrumental to both providing value-added services and segmenting customers. The French company differentiated its mobile presence with two interfaces. The first was a mobile site with a loan calculator (to determine monthly payments depending on the amount borrowed), Web callback, and simple inquiry forms designed to attract new customers. The second was an app designed to enhance interaction with existing customers by pushing personalized offers and scheduling retargeting campaigns. The impact was a twofold increase in conversions on mobile devices, compared with conversions on desktops. The overall goal was to have mobile devices account for 25 percent of Web sales in Mobile devices can also enable new and innovative business models, and some insurers have created mobile applications to sell on the go insurance products. Tokio Marine 14 Digital Insurance in Italy

17 Management has introduced short-term insurance policies that can be purchased for short periods of time, such as a day or a few weeks. These policies are designed to protect customers when they engage in infrequent activities. The mobile app uses a global positioning system (GPS) to determine customers locations and proactively prompts them with relevant one-time insurance products, such as travel insurance when customers are at an airport or accident insurance when they are at a ski resort. Customers can complete the purchase of the policy instantaneously on their mobile devices. Notes 1. Audiweb Database (powered by Nielsen), October EMarketer, The Role of Mobile in Online Shopping and Buying, May Google, Our Mobile Planet: Understanding the Mobile Consumer, May Google, Sterling Research, and SmithGeiger, What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today. The Boston Consulting Group 15

18 A TRANSFORMATION JOURNEY Digital transformation is a process of increasing complexity. Regardless of the long-term target business model, we recommend adopting a phased approach to the digital transformation journey. The phases we propose include initiatives that take into account the starting point of Italian insurers and address the major issues insurers face with a pragmatic approach. All in all, these initiatives represent stepping stones for change. (See Exhibit 8.) Phase One: Preparing the Foundation Most insurance companies have high ambitions for a digital transformation. But when companies begin the process, they struggle to identify a starting point and a coherent course of action. To help insurance companies lay the foundation for their transformation effort, we suggest undertaking the following five initiatives. Exhibit 8 How to Craft a Digital Transformation Foundation Hygiene conditions to tap into digitization Simple and coherent digital interfaces Investment in data assets Aligned organization and partners Phase 1 Business model digitization Digitization embedded in the business model Digitization enhances sales process, risk management, and operations Redesign of products and channels Phase 2 Phase 3 Distinguishing digital spike Digital spike is recognized in the market Areas of digital excellence, as a marketing lever and competitive differentiator Customers delighted through digitization A step-wise journey with a time horizon of at least two to three years Source: BCG analysis. 16 Digital Insurance in Italy

19 Simplify interaction at digital touchpoints. According to a BCG survey that asked consumers to rate their digital interactions with various industries, respondents rated their digital experiences with the insurance industry among the worst. The daunting website registration process to get an online quote was one reason for customers dissatisfaction. At a minimum, then, an insurer should set up a simple, effective website that has an intuitive registration process and that is easy to navigate. The website should provide clear product information and optimize the digital-conversion funnel. The proper use of fonts and images can significantly improve customer satisfaction, as can an appropriate amount of information and interaction. Insurers can improve customer interaction simply by creating a mobile presence. Provide a coherent digital presence across channels. Today, having a digital presence means providing customers with access to services anywhere and anytime. Customers want to be able to choose any channel, or a combination of channels, to interact with companies. It is critical for insurers to provide this choice at every step of the value chain. In addition, insurers should have the same look and feel across all channels and devices and coherently manage distributors presence on social media. Furthermore, companies should ensure that information captured anywhere online is also available through physical channels. Create a mobile presence. Insurers can improve customer interaction and the number of touchpoints simply by creating a mobile presence. This is important given that one of every three inquiries comes from mobile devices and that 82 percent of the population uses mobile phones. Insurers should build websites with dedicated mobile landing pages. In addition, companies mobile apps should provide customer- For us, digital transformation primarily means to provide a multiaccess service model to customers, especially presale, creating an awareness of the need for protection and an interest in our products. Manager of an Italian bancassurance operator centric rather than product-centric functionality and offer support for every step of the customer life cycle, rather than focusing only on claims management. Both mobile websites and mobile apps should implement functionality that enables direct interactions with clients. For example, click-to-call buttons can redirect support requests or leads to the closest agent available, thus increasing conversion rates. Similarly, GPS services can be used to offer customers one-time insurance products on the basis of their location or to target specific customer segments by alerting them that they are close to an agency location. Most of these activities can be launched without running into IT legacy issues or serious budget constraints. Build up data assets. Insurers often lack information about their customers because of infrequent contact with them; about half of an insurer s clients are contacted once a year or less. In addition, this interaction often happens with an agent or intermediary. Insurers should start addressing their chronic information gap and build up the firm s data assets by collecting all the available information on existing clients and creating a single data repository. Information can be collected online by encouraging customers to use private areas on a website, which are now compulsory under Italian regulations. By having customers log in, insurers can capture personal information as well as navigation patterns and preferences all of which insurers can then analyze and monitor. To gather the information needed, insurers have to drive significant traffic to these areas by providing additional services such as a client portal, personalized information services, and customized 24-7 chat support that are attractive to customers. The Boston Consulting Group 17

20 Information can also be collected offline through the agent s network. Most customer information still resides in local databases owned by agents. Insurers should work to integrate and centralize that information through a cooperative program with their agents. For example, the adoption of cloud solutions for document management in the agencies would allow, at the same time, for improved functionalities, digitization, and integration of data. Customer data is a strategic asset. Customer data is such a strategic asset that some innovators are gathering information on customer behaviors and preferences using ways that are normally employed by other consumer-focused industries. For example, some insurers are creating agreements with external partners, such as retailers, to share information about common clients, their behaviors, purchasing patterns, lifestyles, and so on, whenever allowed by regulation. Moreover, the rise of the Internet of Things the connection of uniquely identifiable devices (such as wearables, telematics boxes, and house sensors) over the Internet will give insurers the opportunity to have real-time information on customers, their behaviors, and their risks. Bring distribution partners onboard. For most of the insurance managers we interviewed, being able to involve their agents in the digital transformation is key. Insurers should define a clear mutual-value proposition for their distribution network to ensure cooperation. For example, a financial institution recently launched a co-investment Web campaign for its insurance agents. Those that participated would benefit from advertising sponsored by the corporate marketing department and targeting users who connected to the Internet from the agent s local area. Providing digital tools that empower agents can also help get them onboard. Digital tools not only support a paperless, one-stop sales process but also have a substantial impact on operational efficiency, with upsides for both the company and the sales force. By implementing these initiatives, insurers can create momentum for their digital transformation. Phase Two: Digitizing the Business Model After laying the foundation for a digital transformation, insurers should focus on digital initiatives to enhance the core business. Digital tools and applications need to be leveraged to facilitate sales processes, free up agents time for sales, and enable real-time KPI monitoring. If a company wants to pursue online sales, it should develop a strong online channel with clear customer segmentation and a strong value proposition. This requires designing simple products and services specifically for the channel. If a company wants to keep its agent network as the main sales channel, a digital strategy should be designed to integrate online and offline channels so traffic can be directed from one to the other. For example, the strategy should allow leads generated on the Web and other digital platforms to be directed to agents, and the strategy should let agents efficiently and effectively direct their clients to digital channels for customer care and renewal. New tools to service and engage customers proactively should also be created. The basis for these tools should be an analytics engine, which can use customer data and insights for better monitoring and analysis of customer issues and feedback. Phase Three: Creating a Distinguishing Digital Spike Finally, insurers should enhance their digital presence by identifying a unique value proposition be it superior customer care, complete process digitization, or an enhanced multichannel approach that differentiates them from the competition. Allianz in Italy, for example, was the first insurer to offer and broadly advertise fast quote functionality, through which potential 18 Digital Insurance in Italy

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