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Looking Forward in Insurance - Trends That Are Forcing Change

The discussions among the insurance industry participants at Akamai's Edge conference this past October were fascinating. It was abundantly clear, that there are major shifts ahead that will set the course for where the industry is headed in the long-term. Although the insurance industry as a whole has been less agile, heavily burdened by legacy systems and is really one of the last data-driven businesses to realize a full digital disruption, the tides are definitely changing.

Here are the four key themes I took away from the discussions:

1. Customer Service Is the Answer to Long-term Success

Customer service is the theme that was woven through every conversation the insurance industry leaders were having at Edge. Insurers recognize the need to put the customer at the center of every business decision. In order to stand out as a differentiator for the future, insurers will need to start with customer data to customize offerings and deliver them with impeccable customer service. While we see the property and casualty Insurance market rapidly shifting from agent-centric to an on-line posture, some sectors, including annuity companies / life insurance providers have yet to feel the real pressure of digital disruption but, would do well to pay attention to what is happening across the spectrum of the industry. There is the looming possibility that companies like Google and Amazon will be able to take advantage of their access to big data and become a real threat to traditional insurance companies.

2. A Successful Mobile Strategy Is Key to Staying Relevant

Mobile adoption is streamlining communication like never before, causing the majority of insurance companies' customer interactions to happen without ever having a face-to-face component. In order to stay relevant and focused on the customer, insurers need a nimble mobile strategy. A well planned, well executed mobile strategy can help insurers extend more of their business services to the mobile channel, modernize customer service tools, increase agent and policyholder satisfaction, and attract new customers who need more self-service options. A significant portion of those new customers will be millennials, which brings us to our next point.

3. Millennials Want Immediacy

Millennials are one of the largest population segments in the U.S., totaling about 80 million. And these young consumers are the largest segment of smartphone owners -- 86% own a smartphone. They are defined by a lifestyle of access and convenience, evident by the fact that one in five relies exclusively on smartphones and tablets to get online. In order to reach this next generation of insurance customers, insurers will have to update their business strategy. With a strategy centered on engaging millennials, by addressing the issues that are most concerning to them, such as security and ease-of-use, insurers can increase revenues and grow significantly as this generation ages -- increasing retention through improved customer experience. See, I told you customer experience was a common thread throughout.

4. Insurance Companies Have Complex and Intense Security Demands

As the Insurance industry embraces technology to deliver exceptional experiences to their customers, they must acknowledge that technology is dependent on the Internet, and therefore vulnerable to security issues. Given the enormous volume of data that insurance companies hold, they are an attractive target for cyberattacks. As attacks become larger and more sophisticated, insurers need to make the protection of data and online resources the highest priority. Akamai understands the importance of security and is excited to be selected as one of Insurance CIO Outlook's Top 10 Security System Solution Providers for 2016. Akamai has been recognized for having an innovative solution that protects client's information and simultaneously provides thought leadership regarding the current threat landscape.

Times are swiftly changing for insurers, and in order to stay relevant it is important to partner with technology vendors who will guide you into the future. A trusted partner, like Akamai allows you to stay focused on what you do best - delivering the best insurance products to your customers, without having to worry about building, maintaining, and managing infrastructure to support the distribution of your products and services to your customers around the globe.

 

Cheryl Chiodi, Industry Marketing Manager: Financial Services, Akamai Technologies

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