Casualty Insurers’ Web Efforts Lacking in Strategy and Customer Focus, Says Conning & Company

HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE) via NewsEdge Corporation — — Sales Not
A Complete Measure Of Insurer Web site Effectiveness– Standalone Sites Will Eventually Be
Replaced By Industry Wide Clearinghouse.

A new Conning & Company study reports that the majority of property – casualty
insurers did not have a guiding Internet strategy when developing their Web sites and only
a few insurers use the Internet effectively to reinforce their existing corporate
strategies. The study finds that insurers have achieved many technological capabilities on
the Web, yet most insurer Web sites fail to give consumers a compelling reason to use them.

According to Conning & Company’s latest study, “The Internet and Property –
Casualty Insurance: Lost in Cyberspace,” the competitive pressures within the
industry to be online and be there quickly, has resulted in a number of strategic
disconnects that have impaired and will likely continue to impair insurers’ Internet
efforts. The Conning study assessed the functionality of 44 leading primary personal lines
and commercial lines insurers and well-known aggregates, as well as several smaller
insurers that are heavily focused on Internet sales. Web site findings include some
successes (agent locators), and failures (lead generations, online quotes) as well as
functions that are impractical (online claims filing in the personal lines.)

However, the Conning study finds that the true value of the Internet will not come from
specific technical applications, but from a company’s ability to effectively integrate,
via the web, its marketing, operations and communications.

“The companies that use the web successfully will not succeed because they have some
secret key to the Internet,” said Clint Harris, Vice President at Conning.
“Rather, they will succeed because they have a sound business strategy, a solid model
with a viable value proposition, insightful leadership and the right people to execute
their strategies. The Internet itself will be incidental.”

The Conning study notes that initially insurers believed that the Internet would be a
major source of new sales. But, in reality, online sales have accounted for only about 1%
of today’s personal line property-casualty premium. Part of the problem was a failure on
the part of many insurers to recognize where their business was likely to come from and to
design products and systems that would tap into that market. It has not been uncommon for
insurers with strong agency networks, for example, to spend heavily on systems which
provided direct-to-consumer on-line applications. They learned that building it and
driving an audience to it were two different things.

Additionally, many insurers ignored what is emerging as the true value of the Internet. It
is unprecedented as a source of support for customer service, distribution channels, and
as a vehicle for streamlining business processes and transactions, both internal and
external. The study found that the chief reason for these oversights was that insurers’
Internet initiatives were being led by technologists, not experienced insurance business leaders.

The Conning study recognizes four distinct groups of insurance entities who currently use
the Internet. They are pure agencies, aggregators, “cyber agencies,” and
traditional insurers. Ultimately, it is likely that only a few companies will dominate the
online insurance sales channel. However, the Internet probably will not save any company’s
business model and it will not, by itself, destroy any company’s business model. Conning
identifies three essential principles companies must follow for setting successful website strategies.

The Conning study, “The Internet and Property – Casualty Insurance: Lost in
Cyberspace” is available from Conning & Company for $575 by calling toll free
(888) 707-1177 or (860) 520-1245 or can be purchased through the company’s Web site at A complete listing of all Conning Strategic Studies can also be found by
visiting the site.

About Conning & Company

Conning & Company, member NASD/SIPC, is a subsidiary of Conning Corporation. Conning
Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides asset management services to insurance
companies, manages private equity funds investing in financial service companies, and
conducts in-depth research on the financial services industry. Conning & Company is
located at CityPlace II, 185 Asylum Street, Hartford, CT 06103.

CONTACT: Kitchen Public Relations

Anne Steinberg / Brian Kennedy,


[email protected] /
[email protected]