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European insurers expecting COVID-19 to accelerate digital innovation: analysts

7th September 2020 - Author: Charlie Wood

A new survey conducted by tech research and advisory firm, Information Services Group, has found that over 90% of European insurers are expecting COVID-19 to accelerate digital innovations in the industry.

86% of the continent’s insurance executives surveyed by ISG expect customer behaviour to change significantly due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Over 95% fully or partially agree that their customers want more digital products and services.

“No customer likes long waiting times, filling out numerous forms and long and confusing contract clauses,” says Johanna von Geyr, partner and co-lead of the EMEA Banking, Financial Services & Insurance industry practice at ISG.

“The recent digitization of everyday life—be it working from home or shopping—is also changing the expectations of insurance customers in a significant and lasting way.”

Meanwhile, 64% assume the effects of COVID-19 on their businesses will last longer than a year, while 21% expect the hangover to last between seven and 12 months.

“The current crisis has left many insurance customers unsettled,” says Bryn Barlow, partner and co-lead of the EMEA Banking, Financial Services & Insurance industry practice at ISG.

“As a result, many insurance companies are questioning their long-established business relationships.”

This feeling was echoed in a recent AM Best report that said the pandemic has reinforced the importance of modernising Lloyd’s and helped soften some of the cultural resistance to change.

More than 60% of those surveyed expect some of their business partners to disappear from the market as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, with the new firms a combination of vendors, insurtechs and IT service providers.

European insurers believe their competitiveness depends on improved and simplified customer experiences.

More than three quarters of those responding rate improve customer experience as important, while more than 74% also see automation and digitisation as important.

In addition, half of those responding rated stability of operations as important. Cost savings, meanwhile, was seen as a priority by only a quarter of those surveyed.

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