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Debbie Kennedy – My top three predictions for 2017

It was great to see our industry picking up on the themes of product relevance in 2016 and making it easier to access protection cover. But the biggest change I saw in 2016 was a shift to talking more about the end customer and building the right propositions for them.

Following the events of last year, it may seem foolhardy to make predictions for this year. But here they are – my top three predictions for protection in 2017, with particular focus on the customer.

Personalisation

This is still an important theme for our industry and we’ll continue the shift from product centric solutions to customer centric solutions.  Consumers like to customise – whether it’s the look of their trainers or streaming music and TV – they can personalise how they buy and consume products. In motor insurance we’ve seen the rise of telematics to support more personalised risk pricing for individuals.  Stand-alone protection products with that off-the shelf feel won’t attract too much excitement but tailored solutions brought together in a package that’s relevant for the customer and meets their needs is likely to make protection more meaningful. Combine this with value–added support services such as nurse advisers and health and wellbeing support and we’ll start to see true customer centric solutions emerging.

Accessibility

Some of the recent innovations in life insurance have come from engaging with healthy and active customers and rewarding them for this through reduced premiums. But this doesn’t address the issue of making protection more accessible for the people that need it the most – the chronically ill. There’s definitely a need to design products that are easier to buy for customers with long-term health conditions. We’ll see a move to challenge today’s underwriting models and find ways to share health information with our customers that provides them with a more accurate and personalised underwriting decision.

Digital

We’ve seen how digital change has disrupted other industries and I believe this is starting to gather pace in the protection industry. New technology is already being used to help improve the customer journey from online trusts, electronic signatures and electronic health records.  This trend will continue with mobile technology at the forefront. With smartphones directing and controlling so much of our lives, it makes sense that our customers would want to engage with their insurers in the same way. Whether it’s real time risk assessment or third party applications, mobile technology will transform our processes.

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