The U.S. insurance industry wrote more than $1 trillion in premiums in 2014, with life and health insurers recording 54 percent of that total. While that might sound like a strong endorsement for the current structure of the industry, the ways in which life insurers do business need dramatic change. In particular, life insurers should be taking better advantage of digital capabilities to expand their sales horizons and target new and/or underserved market segments.
Most insurers are investing in their current business model, but there is a group of insurers — “digital transformers” — that are looking beyond insurance, optimizing their current model where possible, but also innovating and diversifying their portfolio of capabilities. These carriers are keenly aware of the disruptive threats facing the industry, and are working to take the industry in new directions.
There are a number of areas where life insurers can expand their role and seize new opportunities for growth. One is caring for an aging population. In Japan and other Asian cultures, there has been a tradition of extended, multi-generational families taking care of the elderly. In other countries, however, this is not often the case, with families widely dispersed and older people less dependent upon family care. This situation creates a need for new services focused on the quality of life of an aging population.
According to the Accenture Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey, half of all Japanese consumers would be interested in having their carrier provide not only insurance but also information and advice about how to reduce risk in their lives. We believe there are similar, if not higher, levels of interest in other developed countries.