The internet has seen strong growth in insurance sales this year. However, the internet is still often considered a search rather than a buying tool, especially when it comes to life insurance products. There is no doubt that to change this trend and encourage more online insurance sales providers need to have an internet strategy.

Research has indicated that the top three things we look for when buying on line are:

  • Speed of quote and application
  • Point of sale acceptance
  • Customer friendly administration

We also know that if a customer does not complete the purchase online immediately it is unlikely that the sale will ever be made through that channel. Indeed out of 60% of prospective buyers who indicated they would return for a purchase only 15% actually did. It is therefore critical to engage with your customer first time round.

Mature companies tend to focus on re-using existing systems and compete by incrementally developing their original product. However, as is all to often in the finance sector, the product and the sales process were designed for different channels and the customer journey just does not work on a ‘self serve’ basis.

Re-using existing systems is a tempting strategy and can seem rational in the short-term. Unfortunately, by continuing to invest in systems that are not a perfect fit for the market, companies risk missing the benefits of better solutions.

Our view:

We at Total Systems have developed our bluescape software to deliver the three key on-line customer requirements:

  • Innovative quoting enabling filtering and benefit selection with instant results
  • Powerful underwriting processes that support complex rules to present the right terms to prospective customers.
  • Agile technology to adapt quickly to emerging forms of communication offering new market opportunities.

It is a false economy to keep applying sticking plasters and ‘add ons’ to a technology that was not originally designed with internet sales in mind; and providers run the risk of missing a huge opportunity in internet insurance sales by relying on such mature technology.

Innovative development typically follows an s-curve. When the old technology reaches the stage where the speed of development slows down, and further improvements are small and expensive, the new technology is racing past and advancing up the steep section of the curve.

The future of the insurance industry lies online, and the internet will soon take centre stage as the primary medium of product development. The successful providers will be the ones innovating and embracing new mobile ways to meet the changing expectations of the next generation of customers.