CEO interview quotes

"I think you've got to look at the disrupters and see what you can learn from them, because they often come in with some very smart innovation and different service propositions.”"
"There's a lot of alternative or third-party capital that's come into re-insurance… My sense is that some of that capital is transient. Some of it's opportunistic... But some of it's here to stay."
"So if you can align yourself with the business and say, ‘Look, we're here to protect your balance sheet.... How can we do that? What's troubling you? What really matters to you?’ then I think you've got a successful connection with your end customer."

The disruptive forces facing the insurance sector could jeopardise profitability and growth, but also create valuable new openings. Are insurers focusing closely enough on the emerging threats and opportunities? Are they moving quickly enough to keep pace with the changing market realities?

Insurance at a crossroads 

The insurance marketplace is in transformation, creating openings for some and challenges for others. Fifty nine per cent of insurance CEOs believe there are more opportunities than there were three years ago, but 61% see more threats.

Disruption on multiple fronts 

Insurance CEOs are most likely to see regulation as a source of disruption, creating upheaval and more costs on the one side and diverting attention from other strategic challenges on the other. The other major disruptors cited by industry leaders include changes in distribution channels, shifts in customer behaviour and increasing competition, especially from technology companies. 

Realising the digital potential 

Insurance CEOs recognise how digital technology can help them sharpen data analytics (90%), strengthen operational efficiency (88%) and enhance customer experience (81%). Yet, are they making the most of digital’s potential? Most insurers are still primarily focused on e-commerce – doing what they already do just via a different channel. Leaders are using digital to engage more closely with customers, fine-tune underwriting and develop customised risk and financial solutions. They’re also pushing back commercial frontiers in areas such as real-time risk monitoring, more proactive risk prevention and lowering the cost of life and pensions options for younger and less wealthy consumers. 

Seeking out complementary capabilities 

Nearly half of insurance CEOs plan to enter into a new joint venture or strategic alliance over the next 12 months. Two-thirds see these tie-ups as an opportunity to gain access to new customers (much more than in other FS sectors). More than 30% see alliances as an opportunity to strengthen innovation and gain access to new and emerging technologies. Yet, two-thirds do not currently have plans to partner with start-ups, even though such alliances could provide valuable access to the new ideas and technologies they need. 

Attracting fresh ideas and skills A rapidly changing market requires a more diverse workforce with new talents. Eighty per cent of insurance CEOs now look for a much broader range of skills. At the same time they recognise the challenges, with 71% – even more than last year – seeing the limited availability of key skills as a threat to growth.

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Asia Pacific

Digital advances, customer insights, regulation and changes in the product offering are the key disrupters in the Asia Pacific region.

Our PwC insurance leaders for Hong Kong, China, Australia, Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, India, Taiwan and Malaysia explore this further.

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