This year, North American insurers overall are pretty darn happy. For starters, there clear signs that the economy is finally starting to gain steam, premiums are on the rise, the market’s firming, and the political will may well shift enough to revisit past regulatory reforms, particularly those that impact health insurers.  And these factors are coalescing into the new strategies for 2012.  In our “Trends 2012: North American Insurance eBusiness And Channel Strategy”, we discuss what factors are driving insurance ebusiness teams to:

  1. Become obsessed about their customers
  2. Get serious about how to collaborate better with their agents
  3. Focus on the infrastructure that supports the digital business
  4. Refine their thinking about what eBusiness means to the insurance ecosystem

What are some of those factors?  For starters, just turn on your TV to see the evidence of insurer interest in growing the business. The airwaves are positively inundated with advertising pleas aimed at getting consumer insurance business. What’s driving this big appetite to get customers this year?  North American sales and services organizations are being challenged by:

  • Disasters that have increased claims volumes.  Big disasters mean higher losses and more claims, and we’re now seeing the consequences of last year’s events.  For starters, the top consumer gripes to regulators and consumer affair offices are issues around auto, health, and home insurance. 
  • Technology consumerization that is heightening experience expectations.  Consumer tech such as mobile, games, and social is shaping new demands for how consumers expect to be engaged by their insurers.  Failing to meet these expectations are resulting in rising customer demand, declining customer loyalty and growing use of mobile and social applications for both service and very public rants about that service.
  • New competitors and channels that are disrupting traditional business models. New entrants like Google are making insurance business and technology executives sit up and take notice of what’s happening with the digital business capabilities of radically different competitors.
  • Empowered customers who are changing the rules of engagement.  New technology and new competitors are reshaping customer expectations about what they expect when it comes to insurance shopping, applying, and servicing.

Which carriers caught our attention this year because of the interesting ways they were selling and servicing customers? Head turners this yeara included nationwide carriers making sales easier like Progressive’s mobile image capture for quoting, claiming, and bill pay and State Farm’s effort to foster long-standing customer relationships (and sales) in an innovative physical setting; an agency, Mason & Mason that’s embracing digital and content marketing that should make even big carriers take notice; and a niche insurance provider, The Climate Corporation, that’s the result of what happens when Silicon Valley meets the Red River Valley.

Interested in digging deeper into what we’re seeing and what’s on the minds of North American insurance digital sales teams in 2012 and how they should respond for success in the Age Of The Customer? Forrester clients can read the report  here.