Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Insurers need to ‘UnThink’

KFC created quite a buzz with the launch of its "Unthink" campaign. By 'unthinking' their fried fast food, KFC is aligning to the choices of new generation, which is far more health conscious and even cost conscious (at least in these days). Keeping aside the recent marketing blunder (with free chicken and Oprah), I liked their ‘UnThink’ principal.

Should not every business do this? We are so used to our usual ways of doing business that we never really 'Unthink'. Although, we constantly strive to achieve efficiencies, and excellence in what we are doing, we actually never stop and question - is this a right thing to do?

Here are my thoughts on what (most of the) Insurers can 'Unthink' -

1) Online presence –
Most insurers do business through independent agents. The bulk of the business comes from agents, so the insurers tend to ignore the direct channel completely. Is this sustainable strategy? The value of Agent’s counseling can not be denied, however, there is a growing population who prefer to research, learn, connect and buy online. Their online world is now not just limited to computers and internet, it has expanded to mobile phones, and 3GS as well. You need online presence and strong channel partnerships not just for providing direct access for sale and servicing, but also for connecting consumers to your agents.

2) Risk Management –
The one thing the recession has taught us is importance of Risk Management. This year really distinguished the insurance companies who do risk management well from those who do not. Are your risk management techniques, actuarial models and financial tools modern enough to manage the risks effectively?

3) Innovation Strategy –
Do you ask for the Business case for every program or project? Well, UnThink. You might be just killing the innovation in your company.

3.95) Customer intelligence –
How much do you know about your customers? Do you know why they are with you and why will they stay with you? Do you know what you can cross-sell to them or to somebody in their household?
Your legacy systems and acquired systems might be holding you back by not providing a single view of customers and enough intelligence about them. It’s time to UnThink and challenge the status quo.

What’s with 3.95? Well, I like this number :)

- Amit Unde


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