“The results [of the PwC survey] provide valuable insights into insurers’ progress on transformation and how they’re looking to steer through these challenging times,” explained Alex Bertolotti, UK Leader of Insurance at PwC UK.
Having fallen in Q1 and Q2, general insurers’ optimism about business prospects has seen the biggest rise of any financial services segment in the survey – a feat that PwC says has come about despite possible challenges resulting from both the Financial Conduct Authority's test case on business interruption claims and its plan to bring insurance renewal prices into line with new customer offers.
In fact, insurance brokers are now reporting rising confidence and profit expectations, and although life insurers are less positive, they too report that volumes are only two-per-cent down on normal, says PwC – in any case, they’re anticipating significant increases in business over the next three months.
Customer-centric offerings a necessary response to the changing landscape
For life insurers (and insurance brokers tend to agree), regulation is viewed as by far the biggest disrupter to business, as is the focus on cost reduction. After these factors, responding to changing customer demands is also expected to be a major disrupter in the life insurance segment.
“We're seeing changes in customer preferences and behaviour, so it makes sense to see these drivers feature strongly in how insurers plan to respond in the future. What's crucial is to turn this appetite for change into progress on the ground,” said Bertolotti.
He also noted that these shifts have been accelerated by the impact of Covid-19. “Firms that make the most of available data hold the key to understanding what customers really want,” he added. Whether or not the customer is always right remains to be seen, but their role in the insurance distribution plain is becoming more pivotal every day.