Where do professionals see the P/C industry headed?

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  • The property and casualty insurance industry has changed a lot in the last few years, as consumers have faced larger premiums for the coverage they’ve always carried, and competition has become much fiercer among firms overall. However, new data suggests that most firms are starting to focus more on the customer than ever before as a means of both attracting new business and retaining old clients who might see their coverage as being too costly. But on a more granular level, it might be somewhat important for insurance agents themselves to make sure they’re doing all in their power to meet their clients’ needs when and if they arise, and to otherwise do as much as they can to keep costs down whenever possible.

    These days, more than half insurance executives say that they see customer demand and how companies focus on consumers as being the biggest ways in which their industries will change in the coming year, according to the latest Insurance Industry Outlook Survey from KPMG. That number – 52 percent – outpaced insurance companies’ perceived needs to keep up with the latest technological changes in their industries and competition from other firms, which came in at 45 percent and 42 percent, respectively.

    Where will this customer focus shift?
    When it comes to how these firms will turn their attentions even more to clients old and new, 25 percent cited “customer programs” as being their largest areas of investment in the coming year, the report said. That was up from 23 percent last year, and slightly ahead of putting money into information technology. In fact, over the next two years, 27 percent of technology investments will largely be focused on customer growth, or service.

    Plenty of research suggests that consumers aren’t so much enticed to shop around for different insurance coverage by the lower prices offered by competitors as they are the ability to find high-quality customer service from their current providers. For this reason, the insurance agents who do the most to keep in regular contact with their clients – so that they know exactly what these customers might want or need from the companies – can be of the utmost importance. That’s in terms of not only retaining current clients, but also potentially attracting new ones through strong, positive word of mouth.