Insurers in Asia/Pacific Expected to Focus on Data Consolidation and Initiatives Centering Around Analytics in their Continuous Drive toward "Real" Customer Centricity in 2011, says IDC Financial Insights

Singapore and Hong Kong - 19 January 2011

With the abundance of information comes new ways to process it, and insurers of today are demanding tools and systems for empowering their businesses with actionable information. IDC Financial Insights believes that in 2011, the integration of incongruent customer data and identification of opportunities through analytical applications will be featured highly on the radar of insurance executives in Asia/Pacific. Determining how to effectively mine data and utilize the information to finally arrive at a single customer view will no longer be just pipe dreams for insurers.

More insights are revealed in the report entitled "Asia/Pacific Insurance 2011 Top 10 Predictions: After the Storm Comes the Sunshine" (Doc #FIN225687, January 2011), which delineates IDC Financial Insights' predictions on 10 key areas that insurers in the Asia/Pacific region will be focusing their resources on to revolutionize their business strategies and architecture in 2011.

"The insurers of today are operating in a changing and highly competitive environment fraught with unpredictability and challenges. Those moving beyond operating in a business-as-usual mode to focus on deriving that added competitive edge are placing resources on enhancing channel and customer management. This includes consolidating customer data, identifying opportunities though analytical application, driving 'real' customer centricity, and integrating a multichannel delivery model to improve customer interaction," remarks Li-May Chew, CFA, Associate Research Director for IDC Financial Insights Asia/Pacific.

"Carriers are also seeing the urgency to augment efficiencies and revenue through cost management and change transformation initiatives. In addition, they are diversifying into ancillary lines of businesses such as health, micro, and travel insurance and building up internal expertise around these areas as they attempt to capture alternative customer segments and diversify revenue streams. Carriers are further embracing emerging technologies like insurance telematics, equipping insurance agents with financial digital devices and e-services to enhance the agency distribution channel, and exhibiting interest in the adoption of alternative technology delivery modes that are based on flexible, pay-per-use models such as cloud computing," adds Chew.

Table 1 presents three of IDC Financial Insights Asia/Pacific's the top 10 insurance predictions, listed by order of importance. This list incorporates opinions formulated from ongoing research, survey, and conversations with industry practitioners and vendors serving the insurance community.

"These predictions fall into four overarching themes that we are witnessing within the postcrisis landscape. They are: the need to focus on enhancing the emphasis on channel and customer management; the continued urgency to augment efficiencies and revenues; a heightened interest on emerging technologies; and, an unyielding emphasis on regulations and compliance," explains Chew.

Table 1: Top Three Predictions for Asia/Pacific Insurance, 2011

Prediction

1. Focus will remain on consolidating incongruent customer data and on identifying opportunities though analytical applications.

Description

Data remains as always a valuable commodity, but insurers are increasingly being inundated with a plethora of information. This is spurring them to think more strategically about consolidating access to customer and transaction information though data warehouse or data mart projects and in utilizing sophisticated business analytics to transform these into invaluable insights. We see the integration of incongruent customer data and identification of opportunities though analytical applications featuring highly on the radar of insurance executives in 2011.

Prediction

2. Insurers will continue on their unwavering drive toward "real" customer centricity.

Description

CRM is becoming a fundamental corporate-level strategy for progressive insurers, as they seek to leverage on customer-facing applications to enhance relationships with profitable customer segments into what is termed as "true" relationship management. We anticipate marketing investments in 2011 gravitating toward new media and digital marketing such as online display advertisements, digital events, email marketing and newsletters, and social networking.

Prediction

3. An integrated multichannel delivery model will become a mainstay as policyholders increasingly demand interaction via several customer touch points.

The advent of electronic channels and the emergence of a technologically savvy consumer generation are radically changing the distribution strategies of insurers. Efforts around channel innovation and alternative distribution outreach, such as bancassurance, Internet, mobile, and direct marketing, are extremely relevant in the context of reducing distribution costs and enabling insurers to provide affordable insurance to the masses.

Source: IDC Financial Insights, 2011

Besides providing insurers with an overview on what fellow peers are focusing resources on to revolutionize their business strategies and architecture, this document also offers pointers to technology vendors on how best to position their offerings to complement the priorities of insurers.

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