The insurance industry is at a crossroads in its digital distribution transformation. When shopping for insurance, consumers increasingly look to carriers that can offer new channels of engagement, and those that cannot are losing their competitive advantage. Digital channels are here to stay, and more carriers are taking active steps to integrate digital capabilities into their existing IT infrastructure.

The 2015 Global Digital Insurance Benchmarking Report by Bain & Company showed that in just three to five years, 23 percent of new P/C premiums will be sold online. The same study revealed that 79 percent of consumers worldwide “say they will use a digital channel for insurance interactions over the next few years.”

While traditional channels are still being used to purchase insurance, insurers cannot ignore the growing focus on mobile and online channels. The shift toward digital channels is occurring, in part, because consumers across all industries have come to expect simple, instantaneous access to products and services.

So far, the P/C insurance industry has been slow to adapt. Time is running out. Carriers need to propel themselves forward to sustain and enhance their competitive edge and to capture the market share necessary to secure long-term success. In order to achieve this success, insurers need to adopt a digital distribution platform that offers not only seamless integration of digital capabilities with legacy systems but also a host of benefits that allow carriers to truly own the customer life cycle.

Insurers need to move beyond simply meeting the customer’s needs to meeting the customer’s needs in that moment.
The best way for carriers to keep pace in the increasingly evolving insurance market is to introduce digital distribution channels and integrate them with traditional agent channels. Insurers need a multifaceted, omni-channel distribution platform that effortlessly enables the seamless introduction of new products and access to new markets, provides specialists to support the bundling of new products and entrance into new markets, and offers seamless workflow processes for an optimized customer experience as well as technology that integrates instantly into back-end systems and provides customer analytics. Each of the four components—people, process, technology, and markets and products—are necessary to own the customer, grow wallet share and expand market share. These four components are what define success in the P/C insurance industry.

More than anything, carriers need to make the process of buying insurance effortless for the customer. In order to achieve that, insurers must find a distribution platform that will engage consumers in the channel of their choice and seamlessly quote, bind and issue a policy in one sitting. To optimize the customer experience, insurers need to move beyond simply meeting the customer’s needs to meeting the customer’s needs in that moment. Carriers will not only yield greater market share, they will gain customer loyalty as they move forward.

By adopting a distribution platform that offers each of the above components, insurers will do what is most crucial in today’s frequently evolving market: They will begin their transformation in response to changing consumer demand. They will position themselves to be proactive, not reactive, to market trends. In doing so, carriers are not only taking a step to actively foster customer loyalty, they are working to secure greater market share and wallet share, maximizing ROI (return on investment) without taking on additional capital investments or risk.

BOLT Solutions has witnessed firsthand the positive market response from leading property and casualty insurers looking for digital distribution platforms that include the people, process, technology, and markets and products required to meet the growing demand of today’s consumers. Over the last two years, the BOLT Platform has seen net premiums driven through the platform expand from $200,000 to $1.3 billion, new business sold via the platform grow by 2,000 percent and the total number of platform users rise from 1,600 to 48,000 (an increase of approximately 3,000 percent). This growth is indicative of a greater industry trend: Insurance is ready to embrace new technologies to compete for market share and wallet share. We will adapt. We will grow. We will always say yes to the customer.

Digital transformation is inevitable. As the transition toward digital channels moves forward and as consumer preferences evolve, insurers must choose a platform that reflects their drive to continually adapt their distribution models and provide an optimized customer experience.