Rapidly Evolving Digital Environment Revamps Distribution for P&C Insurers

Best’s Special Report

Oldwick, NJ (Apr. 5, 2022) – An AM Best survey of property/casualty (P&C) insurers has found that more than half of respondents consider digitization and technological investments to be the biggest challenges in modernizing distribution and growing sales.

The Best’s Special Report, titled, “Rapidly Evolving Digital Environment Revamps Distribution for P/C Insurers,” states that alongside the 56% of respondents that viewed digitalization and technological investment as significant distribution obstacles, another 36% cited improving the customer experience or understanding consumer trends as leading challenges. This translates to nearly 80% of the insurers reporting technology and innovation as areas where they are focusing most of their distribution channel enhancements.

“The survey reinforced the notion that COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns caused insurers to pivot quickly to meet their own business requirements and customer demands, such as implementing seamless remote access for claims, underwriting, loss control and policy issuance,” said Jason Hopper, associate editor, industry research and analytics, AM Best. “Ultimately, the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation, especially for tech-exposed lines such as automobile.”

Advances in predictive modeling and pricing analytics, as well as the use of third-party data, have enabled carriers to pursue profitable growth. The report states that insurtech growth should continue in the auto and homeowners’ markets as insurers focus on effective and efficient ways to reach and service customers, particularly as automated underwriting contributes a significantly larger percentage of new sales.

The survey also found that 70% of companies are moderately satisfied or very satisfied with their innovation efforts related to distribution. Furthermore, those that are more satisfied have posted greater annual premium growth on average over the last 10 years. Although 50% of respondents stated that no new distribution channels are under consideration, nearly 25% are considering a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model, while approximately 18% are considering independent agents and other non-traditional channels.

“There has been a transition where the cost of obtaining new business is driven by efficient returns—maximizing results for the lowest cost possible,” said Robert Raber, director, AM Best. “AM Best expects this to lead to an in-depth review of distribution coststhe amount carriers are paying internally for acquisition and what they are paying to partnerlooking to ensure customer service and distribution reach are at an appropriately valued level.”

To access the full copy of this market segment report, please click here.

About A.M. Best

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

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