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What is the Future of the Global Insurance Industry? 

Interview 22 September 2022 following keynote on the future of the insurance industry for Equisoft in Las Vegas

As one of the world's leading experts on global trends, and author of 17 books on the future, I have worked with many of the world's largest insurance companies, companies like Aviva, Prudential, Munich Re and Swiss Re, advising them on a wide variety of issues - giving keynotes on the future of Insurance and many other related factors at their most important global events.

Key topics include: How will the auto insurance, house insurance, health insurance and life insurance change across the world? What is the future of Insurance agents, with rapid grow in mobile applications and instant automated underwriting?  How can we improve the application process? How can we expand rapidly in new regions? One thing is certain:

General Insurance will see huge growth in every region over the next 35 years for many reasons, averaging 4% or more each year.

* "Life with AI - How to survive and succeed in a super-smart world" - Patrick Dixon's latest book on AI is published in September 2024 by Profile Books.  It contains 38 chapters on the impact of AI across different industries, government and our wider world, including future impact of AI on the insurance industry, AI for better Life Insurance underwriting, auto insurance, health insurance and AI to improve insurance claims handling.

Why are you so passionate about the importance of Insurance?

Insurance is absolutely fundamental to our society and is a $6 trillion industry.

It's all about communities of people agreeing to share their own risks along their journeys of life.

While some insurance is forced on us by governments - for example auto insurance - for most products we have a choice, an opportunity to protect ourselves against risk, but very sadly that is often missed.

So what is the key to encouraging people to take out insurance?

The answer in most cases is creating better awareness of why insurance really matters, plus providing very clear information - and an application process that’s much simpler than in most cases today. 

In a 2021 global survey by GCS of 22 key markets, 72% of adults said that they needed better information about different types of insurance.  

What is the future of cost comparison websites for insurance products?

It can take an hour to apply for a single car insurance quote.  Life cover can take even longer.

On a comparison site, so they only have to apply once.  

That's why we can expect a boom in comparison sites for all types of Insurance over the next decade, following the trends in car and house insurance that we have already seen in Europe, North America and other markets.

30% of consumers usually select the cheapest policy on such sites, and a further 60% select one of the five quoting the lowest cost.

It's not just a question of finding the best price - it's also about saving time.

What about the future of agents as what has been a primary selling channel?

Insurance companies in many countries have tended to rely on insurance agents as trusted advisors and agents have a very important role in educating people about different products.

But agents are expensive, which may mean higher premiums and lower sales therefore.

There is another factor: a generational shift which is taking place in just about every nation of the world, at different speeds.

Most 30 year olds in Europe or the US hate using their smartphones for voice calls and don’t have landlines.  

They don’t like email either.  

They communicate primarily by text, and learn mainly by surfing online.  

So the traditional sales model for Insurance is broken and needs to change rapidly.

So how can Insurance companies drive online sales more effectively?

Most people press the back button on their smartphone when waiting for any web page that takes more than 5 seconds to load, and 25 year olds do so even faster.  

I see this in my audiences around the world.  

During my keynotes I often ask for a show of hands: very few will bother to linger after 5 seconds. They rapidly lose the will to live.

The five second test is absolutely critical for Life Insurance companies to understand.

A very short time from curiosity to irritation, from wanting to learn to terminating the business relationship!

What does this mean for web design? The lesson is that every second counts: every extra mouse click loses customers, every additional question on a Life Insurance form, every time a page refreshes or you have to click onto another page.  

All these are fast ways to kill your business.  

And it's the same with call centres.  

Most people hate being asked to listen to compliance messages for more than a minute, and then having to listen to endless options, and even after all that to be forced to wait with really irritating messages about "Your call is very important to us".

Keep things simple, fast, easy.  That’s the future of Insurance.

Try and remember what it feels like when YOU are a customer trying to get information or buy a product.  Then you will get the entire sales experience right, and create magic.

What parts of the world will see most growth in Insurance sales over the next two decades?

85% of humanity lives in emerging markets so most growth in general Insurance premiums will there.

1 billion people will migrate from rural areas into cities in the next 30 years, just as 1 billion did in the last 30 years.  

And as they arrive, they will follow a well established pattern.  

The usual story is that people find jobs, and soon start sending money back home, while gradually climbing up the social ladder. 

The greatest new market for all types of Insurance product is the emerging middle class in these rapidly growing nations.

Middle class consumers will grow by 1.1 billion from 2020 to 2030.

And in many emerging nations, insurance products can also be packaged in tax efficiency ways with savings.

So what's your summary message to Insurance company boards and senior teams?

Your mission really matters.

You have a moral duty to society:

To reach every adult with clear, convincing messages about why Insurance really matters in protecting their future and caring for those they love.

To make basic all Insurance much easier and faster to buy using mobile devices, at an affordable cost.

To pay out rapidly and efficiently, with minimum of fuss, while also safeguarding against fraud.

And that will help make the world a better, safer place, especially for those with young families who are at greatest risk.

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