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INSURANCE| 29.06.2021

The axes around which the insurance industry will revolve post-pandemic

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UNESPA, the Spanish Association of Insurers and Reinsurers—in which MAPFRE participates actively—has released a report titled Impact of COVID-19 on conversations about the future of the insurance industry. The report draws out the socially relevant factors that will guide the insurance industry going forward.

According to this analysis, the pandemic has “drastically changed everything that was previously presumed immovable and immutable,” causing society’s values to be reorganized along three dimensions: personal, social and industry-level.

In the personal dimension, the study outlines that now individuals are more flexible and place more values on intangibles (like life itself). They have also taken on a collective mindset and have sought new ways to relate to one another, using the digital channel to feel closer to others.

At the social level, the lockdown restrictions—along with everything else that the pandemic brought with it—have created a greater need for freedom and for companies to show stability. In addition, people have become more empathic in the face of problems that affect the whole planet.

The report also explains that the pandemic has redefined the role of the insurance industry, which plays a key part within society. Going forward, the industry will be expected to be more approachable, engaged and transparent in order to build trust.

According to the study, these concepts involve, respectively, thinking of people and fostering the best possible relationships; showing a commitment to and an interest in engaging with clients, and creating a clear bond that is free from ambiguity. MAPFRE has been working on these areas for several years.

 

Eight key trends

The executive summary, titled Aftermask, lists the eight key socially and culturally significant factors, changes and trends that will define the insurance industry’s next steps.
  1. Hello uncertainty, goodbye peace and quiet: Companies will need to reduce uncertainty and build confidence, which will require greater efforts to communicate, to innovate in products and coverages, and to revisit and reinforce their human touch.
  2. In search of new protectors: In these confusing times, and with people suffering from the social, economic and health impact of COVID-19, more than ever it is essential to be effective and transparent — and to be able to show it. For the insurance industry in particular, this could involve improving customer service, reinforcing activities with a social vocation and driving sustainability initiatives.
  3. Re-emphasizing the human touch: This journey that seeks to put people back at the center can provide the industry with new opportunities in terms of the perceived value of life, health and burial insurance, as well as employment policies that put the worker at the center, and technological developments aimed at senior citizens and people with special needs.
  4. Collective solidarity: Giving visibility to actions of this kind will be important. This will lead to a greater dialog with clients about their concerns and will allow the industry to contribute to rebuilding the fabric of society.
  5. A digital acceleration that, in the case of insurance, forms part of the whole process, from selling policies to service provision.
  6. Freedom through technology: Insurance should make people’s daily lives easier and provide flexibility, being personalized and continually adapting, through omnichannel technology.
  7. The phygital revolution: Users now place more value on this combination of the physical and the digital. Insurance can therefore embrace this approach to become more accessible and transparent by making the process of taking out insurance more sophisticated, personalized and human. The provision of advice will play a key role in this.
  8. A hyper-connected society: This forms part of people’s day-to-day lives and will renew the insurance industry’s approach to communication, opening new avenues for connecting with clients and enhancing the role of advisors and claims managers.

Insurance as a safety net

According to the study, the insurance industry’s raison d’être as a guarantor of social development has been driven not just by matters of corporate responsibility, but also as part of the social rebuilding required in the post-COVID world.  

In short, the call for the insurance industry to stand up as a protective figure, the re-emphasis of the human touch, increased solidarity, and the digitization of business are some of the key factors that insurance can focus on so that it can strengthen its key role in society at this crucial time.