With the insurance market predicted to remain soft for at least the next 12 months, better use of data is emerging as a key tool to hone a competitive edge.

QBE Intermediary Distribution Executive General Manager Jason Clarke says the hugely competitive nature of the current crowded market means it is an exciting time to be in the insurance industry.

“Growth opportunities will come through innovation, the use of data and analytics, and finding solutions for emerging risks,” he says.

“It’s becoming increasingly important for our brokers to ensure their client relationships are as deep as possible. Understanding the real needs of the client and extending that beyond traditional insurance purchasing will be crucial to retain relevance in an ever-changing market.

“Brokers that can fully understand the client’s needs, and offer solutions that are relevant and efficient will prosper into the future.”

Clarke foresees the most successful brokers and insurers as the ones that work together the closest, with a focus on creating better experiences for end customers.

“This will include increasing not only the speed of new products to market but also ensuring we are agile enough to quickly change them as demand or need changes,” he says.

Marsh Asia Pacific Managing Director John Donnelly says the soft market has greatly exacerbated the challenge of differentiation from one’s competitors.

“Effective data analysis and use is going to enable us to become more competitive,” he says.

“Investing in technology will improve our expense ratios and improve our ability to communicate with clients.

“This will all lead to a lower cost of transaction and an improvement in efficiency in our businesses.”

Accenture Asia Pacific Insurance Strategy Managing Director Ravi Malhotra says the insurance industry has operated on the same basic model for decades but the opportunity to rethink the role of the insurance industry.

“Brokers will need to embrace the digital age and leverage technology to enhance their ability to provide customers with rich, tailored insights and advice,” he says.

“There is an opportunity to take the traditional broker value proposition, relationship model and customer experience to the next level.”