Insurers Embrace Customer-centricity and Other Thoughts from the Recent Insurance Distribution Strategies Forum in Rome

Guest Author

I attended the 6th annual Insurance Distribution Strategies Forum for 2014 held in Rome last month. This event was organized by Fleming Europe and chaired by David Webster from Oracle. In the five years Oracle has been lead sponsor of the conference, it has grown from a European regional event to a much more global event that includes delegates from Africa, Indonesia, Russia and Eastern Europe and the UK. This year’s forum had over 100 delegates in attendance and was a terrific success with some great speakers.

This was my third year as a speaker at the forum, and it was much different than the previous two years. In years past much of the conversation and presentations focused around product, pricing and distribution channels. This year’s forum was overwhelming dominated with presentations and discussions around customer centricity. During a breakout session we were asked "what are the top three take a ways from this forum?"  I’d like to share my top three...

  • Customer centricity – The customer is now in more control than ever before, with multiple purchasing options and online research with multiple digital touch points.  It is critical to be relevant and speak to the customer in their voice. There were two main themes around customer centricity; the first – Omni Channel Communications and the unified communications approach across all channels. A variety of Mobile OS, social media, online research are all necessary touch points for bidirectional customer communications. Second – Managing the full customer life cycle. There were many presentations that talked about the customer journey from prospect, through on-boarding, to servicing and growing the customer through retention and customer satisfaction. This requires rich customer profile information, strong business analytics, and contextual communications and customer satisfaction surveys/health checks. 
  • Regulations – The reality is insurance is a heavily regulated industry and the regulatory environment is getting more complex. A recent survey* shows that “regulatory and legislative changes” ranks #2 in risk just behind the financial slowdown and is projected to remain the second highest risk through 2016. The budgets within the regulatory bodies continue to grow as their workforce increases year over year. New regulations require resources and staff that can take focus away from customer centricity projects and add complexities to simplification projects.
  • Balance – Launching an Omni Channel Communications  strategy to simplify the customer journey while adhering to the ever growing regulatory requirements is a balancing act. Companies need to get creative to make the complex seem simple, to make the legal terms understandable and to make the information readable across any device.

In summary, it is apparent to me that companies are taking an approach where they think about customers and how they engage, interact, and nurture them. The Insurance Distribution Strategies Forum has been a great event for exchanging ideas and trends for the last 6 years. I hope everyone that attended will be back next year, and strongly urge any other people in the industry that have not attended to register and go next year, you will not be disappointed. Here are a few photos from this year’s conference:   

Stefano Varasi, Oracle Cloud Marketing After hours networking
Stefano Varasi, Oracle Cloud Marketing, spoke about modern marketing automation After hours networking event where attendees relax while discussing trends and sharing ideas with their industry peers.

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*Source Aon (2013): Global risk management survey (1,415 respondents from 70 countries)

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