New SMA Blog by Mark Breading, Partner, Strategy Meets Action

Small commercial insurers are in a unique position in the insurance industry. While the personal lines segment often pioneers the latest innovations first in the industry, small commercial carriers are frequently at the forefront of change in the commercial market before technologies reach mid/large commercial risks. When looking at the past few years, small commercial carriers have progressed significantly in applying straight-through processing, digital self-service capabilities, and other capabilities in certain areas of their business, particularly distribution. But the ever-evolving distribution landscape demands technology solutions to support channel partners and optimize business processes. So, where are small commercial insurers focusing their technology investments today?

A recent survey of executives at small commercial lines insurers reveals some shifts in what is driving distribution investment decisions this year. According to the Distribution Technologies for Small Commercial Lines: Carrier Plans in 2023 and Beyond report, nearly all small commercial insurers say improving the customer experience for the agent/broker is one of their top business drivers for tech investments. This is an increase of 20% over 2021 and indicates how the industry is becoming more experienced-focused.

At the same time, insurers also recognize the importance of balancing partner priorities with their own. It follows that 75% of insurers are driven by efficiencies/enabling more STP. Increasing operational efficiencies allows underwriters to devote more time to servicing customers and reduces friction points for agents and policyholders by allowing them to access quotes, endorsements, and billing more seamlessly. However, carriers indicated decreasing satisfaction with their policy inquiry capabilities, suggesting further investments can be made to focus on elevating processes.

However, in a shift from 2021, fewer small commercial insurers – slightly over one-third – cite growing their market share as a driver of tech investments in 2023. But that is not to say it is unimportant. The data clearly shows that insurance carriers have different priorities and are in various stages of expanding their distribution landscape but remain committed to customer experience and increasing efficiencies.

For more information on small commercial lines distribution technology strategies and investments, see our recent research report, Distribution Technologies for Small Commercial Lines: Carrier Plans in 2023 and Beyond. This report is part of SMA’s research series based on surveys and interviews of insurers, agencies, brokers, MGAs, and others in the distribution channel, including insights from ReSource Pro’s extensive footprint of distribution clients. Contact the author for more information on this new research and advisory services for distribution.

Contact the author for more information.

About The Author

Mark Breading is known for his insights on the future of the insurance industry and innovative uses of technology. Mark consults with insurers and technology companies on forward-thinking strategies for success in the digital age. His inventive methodologies, fresh ideas, creative conceptualizations, and ability to incorporate InsurTech and transformational tech in business strategies are unparalleled. He also leads SMA’s research program, publishing 25-30 research reports per year and conducting various custom research projects for insurer and vendor clients. His thought leadership in the areas of InsurTech, transformational technologies, customer experience, and digital strategies has earned him a ranking of one of the “Top Global Influencers in InsurTech” by InsurTech News and Onalytica and a place in the ten finalists for the “Top Global IoT in Insurance Influencer Award.”

Before joining SMA in 2009, Mark spent 25 years with IBM in roles including the Global Insurance Strategist and Director of Global Financial Services Executive Conferences in addition to leadership roles in consulting and marketing. Mark co-developed IBM’s Account Based Marketing program and led the global project office to implement ABM across all industry verticals worldwide. Mark has held both technical and business roles in sales, consulting, marketing, and business strategy and has advised insurers around the world for almost 30 years.

About SMA, a ReSource Pro company

At Strategy Meets Action, our clients advance their strategic initiatives and accelerate their transformational journeys by leveraging our forward-thinking insights, deep vendor knowledge, and vast industry expertise. Strategy Meets Action is an advisory firm that works exclusively with insurers, MGAs, and vendors in the P&C market. For more information, visit www.strategymeetsaction.com.

About ReSource Pro

ReSource Pro brings integrated operational solutions to insurance organizations to improve growth, profitability and insurance outcomes. Headquartered in New York, ReSource Pro’s global service centers address client operational needs around the clock. Recognized as an industry thought leader and listed as one of Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies annually since 2009, the company is renowned for its focus on innovation, service excellence and trusted partnerships, and its unique productivity platform for insurance operations. More than 5,000 ReSource Pro employees provide dedicated support to hundreds of insurance organizations, consistently achieving a +97% client retention rate over a decade. For more information, visit www.resourcepro.com.

SOURCE: Strategy Meets Action (SMA)

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