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European insurers looking for more personalization

13.01.2015 – Characterized by slow growth and low interest rates affecting the trading environment 2015 is set to be challenging for the European insurance industry. According to Ernst & Young (EY) insurers will look to seize opportunities to maximize their digital channels and make better use of the data they capture in order to personalize products and services.

Insurance players have traditionally lagged behind the retail sector in product innovation. Within general insurance in Europe, the widespread use of aggregators by customers, combined with low retention rates, means that there is continual pressure on margins. Insurers need to look at servicing customers more efficiently, finding new ways of encouraging loyalty and brand “stickiness,” and providing fresh services for evolving customer needs, E&Y states.

The disintermediation of life and pensions has also put pressure on insurers to maximize the direct channel. Key themes are technology, data and analytics. In order to make more of client interaction, insurers must refresh legacy systems and provide customers with a range of digital communication channels while making better use of customer data to tailor products to the individual. Within personal lines, where products are increasingly commoditized, there is an environment in which differentiation becomes more problematic.

While the growth of telematics has led to some personalization, it has yet to reach its full potential, with most products currently aimed at young drivers. Insurers will invest in using telematics data to appeal to the mass market. According to E&Y they face a juggling act to use these opportunities to personalize products, find other ways of adding value and increase customer retention and profitability, while responding to the various regulatory and tax requirements. Having a robust proactive and reactive strategy will enable insurers to remain competitive in 2015. By keeping their products transparent, European insurers will be in a better position to build a rapport with their customers and differentiate their offerings from the competition. (vwh/mst)

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