9 March 2018Insurance

Insurers face a customer-led revolution: Zurich CEO

The insurance industry in the midst of a customer-led revolution – and the players best equipped to adjust and put customers at the heart of what they do will be the ones that will prosper, Mario Greco, group chief executive of Zurich Insurance, wrote in his foreword in the insurer’s annual report for 2017.

“We are in the midst of a revolution affecting every aspect of our business. New competitors are entering the market, digital technology is reshaping how we do even the simplest tasks, and technological advances hold potential for innovative new service offerings,” Greco wrote.

“The forces driving change in our industry are diverse. For us, the transformative power that they give to customers is key. This is, above all, a customer-led revolution. Customers today can easily compare insurance products and providers, consult peers and ultimately determine how they protect themselves against risk. Customers may even bypass conventional insurance all together.”

He said he believes Zurich is positioned well. It has a strong, competitive position, as its performance in 2017 demonstrated. “Despite historic weather-related events our focus and discipline delivered improved underwriting, reduced costs and an expanded premium base, creating immense opportunities for 2018 and beyond,” he said.

But he emphasised the message that the company has been restructuring itself to ensure it meets customers’ needs and delivers the best possible experience. In this regard, he noted that

It has divested non-core businesses, targeted growth to further diversify its portfolio, and focused on a strategy that gives it a clear mandate.

“We have simplified our structure and unified our business to give us a clearer line of sight to our customers. And we have systematically built on our core capabilities by expanding our service offerings, distribution reach and customer engagement platforms,” he said.

He continued: “Clearly we still have work to do. We will continue to reduce our cost base and improve our technical underwriting performance, and will implement changes that allow us to devote more time and resources to interacting with customers.

“No business today can afford to take customer relationships for granted. To anticipate and respond to customers’ needs, we start by listening to them.”

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More on this story

26 February 2018   Zurich Insurance Group has entered into an agreement to acquire the operations of Australian insurer QBE in Latin America for a total aggregate price of $409 million.
22 March 2018   Global investment in insurance technology surged in 2017, with Europe emerging as a new insurtech hub outside the US, according to new research from advisory firm Accenture.
5 April 2018   Zurich Insurance Group has elected former Swiss Re CEO Michel Liès as chairman of the board of directors for a one-year term.