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Key Takeaways & Quotable Quotes from the Society of Insurance Research (SIR) Summit

As a proud member and sponsor of the Society of Insurance Research (SIR), we had the pleasure of attending the “2017 Spring Research Workshops Summit” in Chicago this week, and wanted to share some of the interesting and inspiring things we heard while there.We were excited to spend time with leaders from insurers such as State Farm, Nationwide, Erie, Cincinnati, Amica, Allstate, Progressive, Penn National, Mutual of Omaha, Cigna and Chubb during the past day and a half. This is an amazing group of professionals that are shaping their respective companies’ strategies and the insurance industry of the future. There were a wealth of interesting observations shared during the Keynote address, “Increased Pace of Transformational Change Today,” from Tom Kavanaugh, a Partner in the Financial Services Practice at PwC.

Tom stated that customers now have more choice than ever when making a purchase (e.g. Coca Cola owns over 500 brands) and as a result, the customer experience is more important than ever—hence why Starbucks can charge $5 for a coffee drink.  He explained that there will be several factors that ensure success for individual insurers. Along with such factors as removing friction, social reviews, personalization and same-day delivery, he mentioned “the new data exchange”, leveraging third party data. Specifically, Tom stated that: “Every moment in the customer journey counts in order to deliver a great customer experience and exceed expectations. Insurers will leverage third party data more than ever to predict outcomes rather than respond to them.”During his keynote, Tom shared several interesting statistics from PwC’s20th CEO Survey of the Insurance Industry. Three things that really resonated with us were:

  1. Insurers expect more disruption that most other industries
  2. Only 35% of insurance CEOS are very confident in their ability to achieve their growth goals
  3. The top use case for digital is to grow revenue (57%)

Mike Warner from Conning & Company, drilled into specific P&C, Life and Health trends and hot topics and informed the audience during his session “Strategic Change Implications for the Insurance Industry” that, “Price increases in auto insurance will continue due to more miles driven and higher number of accidents than expected.” This definitely resonated with us, as we’ve been talking about this with our customers. Also consistent with our infographic, our individual conversations with many summit attendees confirmed that carriers are focused on:

  • Maximizing conversion rates by prioritizing efforts to target high-intent, in-market shoppers
  • Improving retention by identifying consumers who continue to browse rates after signing up for a policy
  • Increasing cross-sell opportunities by leveraging behavioral data to detect intent signals

In line with the PwC survey findings about disruption concerns, Christopher Robson, Chief Innovation officer at ORC International, stated that ,”two people in a garage with an AWS account may ultimately put you out of business. It’s why insurers are paying much more attention to new technologies than ever before.”

Kevin McCann, Research & Strategy Leader, Erie Insurance, summarized with his summit takeaways:

  • Change will be a fact of life
  • Growing importance to widen your perspective
  • Our roles (as strategy and competitive intelligence professionals) will evolve
  • Opportunities will exist to widen our impact
  • Fundamentals will matter

In conclusion, we confirmed that insurers are keenly interested in learning about, developing and investing in new technologies that have potential to enhance the customer experience and fundamentally disrupt many components of the insurance value chain.For more information about the Society of Insurance Research (SIR), its Spring Summit and the upcoming Annual Conference taking place October 22-25, visit the SIR website at: