A report published by Ernst and Young says that Canadian insurers are lagging behind the digital curve, and are not in a position to provide members of the Generation X and Y demographics with the kinds of products and services they expect.
According to Ernst and Young's 2015 Canada Life – Annuity Insurance Outlook, Generation X and Y consumers want simplified insurance products that are easy to understand, compare, and buy. While digital solutions can offer this kind of efficiency and ease of purchase, the authors of the report say many insurers have yet to make technology an integral part of their culture, or hire the talent necessary to implement it. Insurers also need to give intermediaries the tech tools they need to build relationships with younger clients.
In addition, the report suggests that insurers should look beyond the advisor channel and sell more products directly. "As Gen X and Y are more open to dealing directly with insurance companies, insurers must explore a more direct-to-consumer approach, using data analytics for more efficient underwriting," says Ernst and Young. "A streamlined underwriting process means faster service, more sales and lower expenses. In the long run, this analytics-based approach can evolve into online sales systems that target consumers via websites, mobile apps and online videos."
Ultimately, Ernst and Young thinks insurers need to embrace an "omni-channel approach" in which a digital platform allows information to be shared between agents, brokers, and consumers alike. The easier it is to share customer data across multiple channels, the easier it is to cross-sell products, concludes the report.