There’s one word that sums up what’s going on in the business of insurance right now: disruption. Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with an innovation team at a Tier 1 carrier. When I asked the group if they were feeling that big changes were afoot in the industry, there was lots of head nodding. Consider just these few catalysts of change:

  • An improving economy driven by freshening winds in the US housing market.
  • Activist consumers willing to both join forces with their insurers and at the same time regulate them through the power of social media.
  • Converging physical and digital worlds that engage consumers through smart portable devices.
  • Two maturing regulatory reforms: one that reorders the molecules of the health insurance industry and the second that’s creating a new industry (and risks), namely access to medical marijuana.

Four big trends fomented by these (and other) drivers have caught our attention this year:  the digital expectations of small business insurance shoppers leaving P&C insurers in a quandary about how best to service this increasingly demanding — and attractive — market; a renewed passion for the agent and the acknowledgement that the local agent remains a top consumer choice; the ubiquity of mobile in informing consumer context; and the coming shopping bonanza for health plans with 2013 Affordable Care Act deadlines.  

Whether you think of the notion of disruption as provoking commotion, trouble, or tumultuous uproar, others, including new entrants, are embracing these as moments of opportunity in 2013.

Want to learn more? Check out Trends 2013: North American Insurance eBusiness And Channel Strategy.