Experts say that life after major crises tends not to change as much as we imagine. So, with this in mind, what changes might we expect to see post-pandemic?
It’s early days, but I’ve chosen six aspects that I think are worth focusing on: these reflect trends that were in motion before, as evidenced in our research and which will I believe will accelerate.
The first is market modernisation; the enforced (and largely seamless) shift to zooming, teaming, e-trading – people actually using software to get the job done will shunt fogey-ish traditionalists out of the Market and we’ll enter a new era of modernisation where tech creates the space, time and analytics needed help the human insurance factor excel in terms of innovation and service.
Second, the true value of in-person human interaction for effective selling, creativity or solving knotty problems has been realised and will rise exponentially after the pandemic. We now know what software is good for and what it isn’t. Talent acquisition will reflect this, with sales skills being in much greater demand; user-friendly seamless trading tech will develop rapidly too.
Third, collaboration; commercial success requires working well with others and many brokers are telling us that they are now discovering who their true ‘friends’ are through this crisis. Working practices and corporate cultures will change and breaking down silos will be key to this.
Fourth is customer service; the trend away from an operational model to a customer model will accelerate and this will increase the sophistication of the industry in all areas. Specifically, organisations who have successfully organised and gone the extra mile to deliver and put their brokers, colleagues or customers first will be remembered and valued more highly. Service and the customer experience (CX) will now be invested in, measured and marketed much more in future.
Fifth, overhauling and streamlining bureaucracy and inefficiency will become a necessity in the new normal, especially for the Lloyd’s Market. The remote working experience has shone a light (if it needed shining) on the entropy caused by archaic systems and processes. Fixing this will be a major priority (if for no other reason than to make our jobs fun again!).
Last-but-not-least and sixth, reputation and brand; insurance has not had a good pandemic, public communications have been clumsy, contradictory and bordering on insulting customers’ intelligence. Even the most supportive press has delivered timely warnings:
“Erring on the side of honouring coverage could be expensive for insurers in the short term but at a time of unprecedented crisis…executives would do well to demonstrate a conciliatory approach. To fail to do smacks of practices that have given the industry a bad name” FT
Some individual brands have stood out by thinking ahead, acting and communicating positively, in the UK for example Admiral (shares up 3% on the announcement of refunding motor customers) as for others in the London Market…well, perhaps the less said, the better.
We’ve been monitoring London Insurer brands for some time and will be interested to see the first results from our immediate post lockdown surveys in the next month or so. One of the metrics we look at closely is Trust – generally brokers associate insurers with being Trustworthy and especially Lloyd’s players: whether that will continue to be the case for all remains to be seen.