The long-term outlook for the life insurance industry is for a faster pace of change, particularly in the use of technology. That was the conclusion of a survey of top industry executives by LOMA, an Atlanta-based insurance industry group.
The executives were asked for their opinions on what the industry will look like 10 years from now. Executives highlighted advances in technology as well as companies' ability to provide comprehensive financial solutions to their customers as drivers of this change.
Service capabilities will continue to advance, and the industry will see the Internet become an even more important service delivery mechanism. The use of mobile devices as a communication vehicle will become standard. Push technology (push alerts and push service) also will be become standard.
Telepresence and teleconference will enhance collaboration and communication among home office employees and the field force.
The basic stable of life insurance products will stay the same, but features and benefits will continue to evolve as companies try to address performance guarantees, fee disclosure, de-risking and longevity. Product development will focus on hybrid (combination) products. In response to the financial crisis, industry executives believe consumers will continue to seek out guarantees and companies will compete aggressively to provide those guarantees. With more than 3 million Boomers turning 60 in 2010 alone, the retirement income space will grow rapidly.
Companies will work to find creative and efficient ways to deliver basic products to the mass market, including electronic distribution, mass marketing and worksite marketing. Success in the affluent market will depend upon the availability of sophisticated products coupled with customized, high-touch producer support. Success in the retirement income market may require a shift in producer mindset, moving the focus from selling product to providing solutions. The producer that excels here will partner with experts from various disciplines, such as trusts, tax and elder care.
"Over the next 10 years, advancements in service and technology will continue to transform our industry," said Robert Kerzner, president and CEO of LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global. "While technology is the enabler to reach more consumers through the Internet, the ability to integrate data across the organization will afford companies the ability to engage in predictive modeling, data mining and forecasting. It will provide them a 360-degree view of their customers, which will better serve the customer and improve companies' productivity."
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