Disrupting The Disruptors

Whilst the future of insurance and digital insuretech in the UK is bright, we need to tread carefully when using the word ‘disruptor’ as Lisa Carr explains…

The UK insurance industry has boomed in the last couple of years, and now has an abundance of insuretech businesses that are launching genuinely interesting and exciting products. Recent insight from PwC based on over 1,300 start ups across Europe has also indicated that 75% believe the biggest disruption to the insurance industry will come from building new products in order to address changing consumer needs. This here is the crux – disrupting an existing market, often from the outside, with new products is genuine disruption. Disruption however I fear is a trigger word that many companies in the insurance space are now becoming hung up on and the word is becoming rather excessively used.

Disruption has now become such a key buzz word that it is being used by insurers (new and old) even when it isn’t right for them or their corporate narrative, and doesn’t fit with their products, so concerned are they to be seen to be left behind and not be a ‘disruptor’. There is a rise of new insurers who are trying to reach different markets – millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and any new competition can (hopefully) only benefit the consumer by offering them increased options. However, rebranding an existing product and launching a quirky marketing campaign does not a disruptor make. Creating a genuinely ground breaking product that changes the industry, resets the agenda and leads the way will. A gimmicky marketing campaign may entice customers in, but that doesn’t mean they will stay.

The industry has seen great changes in the last few years. Apps and tools are making the customer experience quicker and easier. More could always be done, undoubtedly and product innovation is always being modelled in the background. We will no doubt see at some point in the future simpler products built from the ground up and genuinely rooted in ground breaking mobile technology rather than based on older designs.  Yet one thing remains true in the UK, insurance is not an aspirational purchase. It never has been, and this is unlikely to change any time soon. The reason Amazon was able to disrupt how we shop on a global scale is because it was looking at a service people wanted. It only had to focus on changing the model rather than having to focus on changing public attitudes. Public attitude to a grudge purchase will always be one of the biggest hurdles a new company has to overcome.

The future of insurance and digital insuretech in the UK is bright and exciting, for the industry and consumers. But perhaps we need to tread cautiously when using the word ‘disruptor’. A word that is becoming more heavily used and which from a brand and customer engagement /purchasing perspective means a lot is expected.

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