Alan Inskip, Tempcover CEO & Founder, reflects on the past year and shares his predictions for the industry in the year to come.
Another year has passed and Covid still continues to make consumer trends unpredictable and business planning more challenging than ever. And it is no different for the insurance industry which, in the face of the pandemic, is making strides in reversing the perception that it is still stuck in its old ways of operating under the confines of a cumbersome and inflexible model.
Here is my top pick of trends to watch in the industry.
It takes partnerships to win new business and improve customer service
InsurTech companies, which provide fully-digital UBI products such as temporary car insurance, have been able to swiftly adapt to market changes and meet new consumer demand instantly. At face value this may paint a bleak picture for traditional insurers, but scratch deeper through the surface and there is an exciting new era of possibility awaiting the motor insurance industry.
We know that the large insurers lack the agility to respond swiftly according to unpredictable market trends, and this is where smaller InsurTech businesses can prove to be invaluable partners, as they are at the heart of the digital UBI product revolution.
They have the proprietary technology and skillset to create bespoke digital products for the large insurers, thereby enabling them to keep up with the industry disruptors through collaboration rather than direct competition – all while satisfying ever-evolving customer demand at a competitive cost. This ultimately means that UBI products should be seen as a complementary add-on, rather than an outright replacement to the existing annual model, which still has an important role to play.
Of course, it’s a two-way street and InsurTechs can also benefit substantially from collaborating with the large insurers. By partnering with a widened portfolio of well-established underwriting partners, InsurTechs are able to expand their coverage options and acceptance criteria, while ensuring that they offer their customers a comprehensive choice of the most competitively-priced policies in the market.
Partnerships expand outwards
Collaboration within the insurance space is paramount to future success, but the industry should be careful not to insulate itself from new opportunities that reach further and add greater value to the end-user. For example, enhancing an existing motor policy offering by partnering with a recovery service provider to add breakdown cover as an option for additional peace-of-mind.
Another option is for InsurTechs to partner with automotive retailers to provide temporary driveaway insurance policies as part of the purchase experience. This enables dealerships to offer customers a fixed-price insurance solution that is more transparent and user-friendly, thereby creating a more positive experience of getting a newly-purchased car insured.
Greater pricing transparency
The long-awaited dual pricing ban will be officially enforced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) at the start of 2022. The main benefit here is that customers will receive fairer and more equitable pricing based on their risk profile, not on whether they are a new customer or not.
Although the potential short-term implication could be an increase in new policy prices, the longer-term benefit will be more transparent pricing that is not punitive towards long-standing policyholders. It may even lay the foundations for a future where insurers can reward loyal customers with more competitive rates – within the context of their risk profile.
Fraud remains a concern
While the industry is working hard to make insurance policies quickly and easily accessible at a competitive rate, this has led to a rise in bogus online car insurance deals, known as ‘ghost broking’. In fact, the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) received over 21,000 reports of fraudulent motor insurance policies in the past 12 months which could be linked to ghost broking .
According to the IFB, its percentage of investigations into ghost broking have doubled in recent years, warning that tens of thousands of motorists could unwittingly be driving with fraudulent cover and will face serious consequences if caught by the police.
We can only rid our industry of the scourge of predatory fraudsters by working together to educate potential customers on the perils of unrealistically cheap policies through clear product guides, a transparent quote and buy process, and an easily-digestible policy terms and conditions.
Customer fraud is another major threat that should not be overlooked. Insurers must also do all they can to combat consumer fraud using the latest real-time data available to them, otherwise they run the risk of implementing inefficient pricing models that negatively impact honest customers who may already be feeling the initial pinch from the dual pricing ban when selecting a new policy.
Customer experience will play an increasingly important role
Insurance is a very complex industry and although price competitiveness is an essential aspect, it is by no means the be all and end all, especially with the dual pricing ban coming into effect. With that in mind, ease of doing business is becoming increasingly important.
Priority will need to be placed on giving customers a greater understanding of what they are (and perhaps more importantly, are not) covered for through product transparency, simplified policy language and an enhanced user journey. This will dramatically simplify the process of how insurance is purchased and consumed in 2022 and well beyond.