Two in five insurers expect major turnover in the industry

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Insurance leaders foresee major turnover at the top of the industry, according to a survey of 100 execs by PwC's consulting arm, Strategy&.

On-site interviews at a recent conference revealed that 35% of insurers think "the industry landscape will stay the same, but the players will change substantially in five to 10 years." Addtionally, 44% believe "most existing insurers will not survive, at least in their current form.

Technology and customers' expectations for 24-hour service were cited as the most disruptive forces on the insurance business, with about a third of respondents identifying each.

Marie Carr, Strategy& principal, says that insurance is an industry "under duress."

"The entire business model is being disrupted," she says. "What you see is leaders themselves feel a clear and present danger, and they're actively doing something about it."

That's a shift that's happened over eight to 10 years, Carr says, and it's being manifested in insurers' use of digital technology and tactics.

"What you'll see in 2018 is a lot of investment in tech and data below the surface, because [carriers] realize the risk that they will have to write in the future and the companies that emerge will be different in many instances than what they have seen before," she says. "It's not the bandaid approach that they've been using, but true transformation and bigger investments."

Insurtechs and other partners are identified as crucial components of this ecosystem, Carr notes. Forty-four percent of insurers said new market entrants were "potential business partners" in the survey.

"For the previous 20-30 yeras, it would have been heresy for insurance companies to look outside; they believed themselves too big and too regulated to do anything," she explains. "The trends that started out with the PE firms and VC firms that saw insurance as an industry to exploit, is continuing with carriers who are buying and partnering with the entities who are a source of this disruption."

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