As we age, most people look to the years ending in “0” and “5” as milestone birthdays. With each half decade, people take stock of where they are and what their future holds. With 2015 now underway, people are looking to see how we have changed in this decade, and what the year 2020 will bring.
Technology and data are changing so rapidly that any predictions made today will either be wrong in their timeline or will be eclipsed by how media and technology change. This holds true for all industries, including insurance. A recent study by Strategy Meets Action determined that one of the greatest challenges for insurance carriers finding value in the diverse data available today. However, there are a few changes in technology and data can be qualified.
Data is critical when dealing with the changes in the demographic make-up of the country. The insurance buyer of the future is different than yesterday’s policy holder. In the past, it was believed that older men were the primary targets for insurance. As the demographics of the country shift younger, more female and more ethnic, it is important to develop products and marketing strategies that appeal to women, millennials, and Hispanics. Each of these groups has specific needs and interests, as well as their own reasons for buying insurance. Whether selling policies via mass media in direct to consumer channels or individual face to face agent sales, these differences must be acknowledged. This can be achieved through the use of data.
With the availability of more self reported data than ever before, it is critical that insurance carriers take advantage of the tools that are available within the data sets. The data can help identify the lifestyle triggers, preferred media and distribution channels, and financial indicators that convert prospects into sales.
Along with the changes in data, insurance companies must make the necessary technology upgrades to utilize and optimize the data that is available. Technology includes the internal processes of legacy systems that can tie existing policy holder information together with new data variables, online and mobile applications, as well as ease of claims and questions. These changes include life insurance calculators that ask specific follow-up questions based on initial answers, auto insurance claims submitted at the accident site through an app, electronic signatures for life insurance policies, and paying benefits within one day of submitting a claim through Aflac. The combination of all of these technological advances, and future ones we do not yet know about, provide insurance carriers with the stability for the future. As new distribution channels emerging, including retail stores and companies such as Google, insurance carriers must stay relevant if they want to own the policy holder relationship.