There's an interesting piece in this morning's FT about how insurance companies are trying to turn themselves into services companies.
As I finished the article it struck me that this trend is industry wide, encompassing life, health, reinsurance and P&C. Previously I'd thought of it as mainly a P&C thing.
But my main thought was on: what would it take to persuade customers to pay for services from an insurer?
Personally I don't believe that there's a single insurer-provided service that many people would be willing to pay for. Take telematics. An insurer could analyse the data from an in-car device and then sell it back to the policyholder in the form of driving tips, route advice, car diagnostics, information about local attractions, personalised retail discounts and so on. But most people wouldn't want any of this enough to pay for it. Instead, perhaps a better route to generating revenue from services starts with:
1. Use proprietary data that other companies don't have
2. Partner with a service provider with a proven business model to augment its services with proprietary data
3. Most important, focus on customer niches with high demand (think the people who flip from a free service to the monthly subscription, e.g. Amazon, Spotify, Strava etc).
“One of the big problems with services in insurance is that customers are not willing to pay for them, so it becomes a cost centre. The question that we are trying to solve is: can we create services that create value for themselves, by earning a fee or driving growth.”