Why digital ecosystems are the keystone of customer-led growth for insurance firms

Ecosystems are built around customer needs, wants and expectations are the biggest disruptive threat that insurers face.


In a hyper-connected world, customer expectations are being shaped by the best digital experience on offer. They expect an online experience, products and services that are hyper-personalised and relevant to their lifestyle and financial decision-making.  Insurance firms designing or joining a digital ecosystem to respond with agility to customer demands and expectations will win out. They will win out by disrupting the market with innovative experiences and embedding their insurance products in a seamless customer journey across the ecosystem.

In a post-pandemic world, these expectations are evolving dramatically as consumers migrate online. Being able to tap into an ecosystem customer community and offer the right products and services at the right time will be a major lever for customer-led growth.


What do we mean by an ecosystem?

An ecosystem is essentially a customer-centred network through which products and services are offered by various cross-industry players.  McKinsey asserts that beyond opening up new revenue streams, ‘the substantially larger benefit … may come from contributions through touchpoints along the value chain, data on the customers’ preferences and activities, or the services themselves …”


Has disruption from digital ecosystems already started?

Accenture research from last year found that just over half (51%) of insurance executives were starting to experience disruption from competitors that have partners in other industries. Here’s the thing. The most critical points in the value chain: products and services and customer service are being hit the hardest and have the highest levels of disruption at 60% and 57%.

One thing’s for sure, inertia won’t make the problem go away.  And failure to act will cost.  Accenture reports that by 2022, insurers that are sluggish in responding to changes from agile, hyper-relevant competitors could lose market share worth US$198 billion worldwide over the next five years. Growth opportunities worth $177 billion could be lost too.

Accenture thinks that failure to create or design their own ecosystems could see insurers being reduced to pure-play risk cover providers. While 54% of firms are actively seeking ecosystems, and acknowledge the value of a strategic shift to an ecosystem model, many are ill-equipped to roll out an ecosystem strategy in their business.


What’s holding insurers back?

This can be summed up in four words: capability, culture, technology and resources. But as we discussed in a recent post, innovating from the ‘outside in could help legacy insurers leverage the external expertise and agile methodologies they need to design or join a digital ecosystem without any major organisational change or disruption


Driving customer-led growth – know your customers

Here are a couple of questions to think about to scope out an ecosystem strategy built around your customers’ needs and expectations to drive growth.

  • How do your customers use your digital products and services?
  • Are you able to map every customer touchpoint?
  • Do you have the right data at your fingertips to enhance the user experience and customer experience at every touchpoint?
  • How are you able to personalise interactions and tailor products and services to be there for customers at the right moment and make the customer experience frictionless?
  • Which customer groups are being underserved or missed?


Building your ecosystem capabilities

If your insurance firm is looking for an ecosystem approach, what capabilities, culture shifts, technology and resources does your business need to build your ecosystem to drive customer-led growth?  We’re here if you need our help.