Securing Insurance Premiums in a Time of Inflation
Before we explore the positive actions an insurer can take to move beyond crisis management into revenue creation in an inflationary environment, let’s first understand the difficulties posed by the current hard market conditions.
A 30-year low
Whereas the UK seems to have coined the phrase, ‘cost of living crisis,’ it’s just inches ahead of other key markets like Canada, South Africa and Brazil. Millions of consumers across the financial spectrum (in all four territories) face the dual shock of surging inflation and rising interest rates exacerbated by shrinking real-term salaries.
A new vulnerability
Payment shock can reduce the availability of income which now gets assigned to high-value debt, such as rent, mortgage and auto repayments. When the cost of credit, fuel, food and shelter are at an all-time high, insurance premiums and value can become vulnerable to reprioritisation. Once considered reasonable and rational, short-term and life policies can be viewed as expensive and extraneous. Fully comprehensive car insurance may be reduced to third-party cover, and five-star life insurance benefits might be sacrificed in favour of three-star coverages.
A growing temptation
When everyday expenses like food and fuel compete with prioritised debt repayments and other fixed financial obligations, research shows an increase in syndicated and individual fraud manifested as invented or inflated insurance claims.
Suspected digital fraud attempt rate by industry: 159.4% Insurance
Source: Fraud Trends – Quarterly Analysis comparing Q2 2022 to Q2 2021
The standard response
To counter the effects of shifting financial behaviours as benefit-adjusted, premium reductions and payments lapse, insurers often freeze marketing and sales activities; look for cuts in operational expenses; and batten down the hatches till the economic storm passes.
This positively makes sense when the storm is expected to be short-lived, but what if the crisis extends into one, two or more business quarters?
In a market where insurers are factoring in rate increases to help cover inflated operational costs, will current, elevated retention numbers (up to 95% in some markets) persist if consumers shop around for cheaper, more flexible or value-added offers from competitors?
When the market begins to move, how will insurers that have not monitored their customer’s activities — or stopped marketing quality insurance to their existing customer base — be positioned for growth?
The power of actionable analytics
The tools exist to make affordable, incremental changes to current systems and processes that can help allay the reduction in current revenues; increase policy premiums from resilient clients; and better monitor and manage the risks of potentially fraudulent applications and inflated claims.
Some easy calls for a hard market
Put in a wicket keeper with strong form to mitigate fraud impacts on loss ratios. This can be done quickly and easily using data-driven AI and machine learning software solutions to safely automate the applications and claims processes.
Work your existing book. Most insurers can be better at engaging their policyholders. This captive audience is a rich source of potential to grow new business based on changing needs and life circumstances that can be monitored and triggered.
Segment customers to align with multiple strategic metrics. A holistic view of shifts in affordability, life stage and propensity to purchase can help better manage targeted
premium support, adjust cover, prioritise profitable collections, and launch cross-sell and upsell campaigns.
Add value through empathy and education. Few people are untouched by an economic crisis. Insurers can help consumers access empowerment tools that help them understand their credit profiles, be alerted to potentially fraudulent use of their identities, and make changes to improve their credit scores.
How to leverage information for smarter decisions
The greatest insurance risk in the current climate is reticence
By actively pursuing such results-driven strategies, informed by enhanced data analytics, insurers can help transform hard market conditions into quick wins and long-term loyal customers. To quote Warren Buffet, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”
Speak to your TransUnion representative to learn more about how CreditVision® and TruValidateTM can help you profitably navigate the current and emerging economic landscape.