Dr. Johannes Ospald, Chairman of MOUNT ONYX, in an interview with Jane Flemming gives some insights into trends, opportunities and needs of the online insurance industry in Europe. He also talks about the researches and vision of the company.
“Can you tell us some interesting trends about the online insurance business in Europe?”
Dr. Johannes Ospald: “In Europe, the online insurance business is becoming more and more part of daily life. There is no way around online shopping and products any more. I would note here that new online insurances mostly supplement traditional channels, but do not replace them.
Through the last 40 years, almost 800 online channels of insurers and online aggregators/ brokers as well as a huge number of insurtechs have entered the European insurance market. The result is a 150 billion EUR market.
We have identified 250 future trends in the online insurance business. Regarding top insurtech companies in Europe, for example, the main innovation focus is on 4 business areas: customer analytics, products, sales/ promotion and service/ processes.
Insurtechs that focused on customer analytics have high chances of success. Usage-based technologies combine „positive“ promises of value-added services and products (for safe car driving behavior, home device monitoring or health protection) around the „negative“ actual risk. B2B technologies offering market data & analytics help to optimize complex company decisions.
Insurtechs that focused on expanding the product portfolio and on the sales area have high chances of success, such as offering additional digital risk coverages, small business insurance products, banking products or further non-financial services & products around insurances. While stand-alone offers, especially of situation insurance products, have a comparatively low success potential and are suffering from the low-frequency, low-interest and low-premium income of such product lines.
Regarding service innovations, such as contract managers and Life Digitizers, the market will finally decide about the success of such business models.”
“Do you see possibilities for optimization of online insurance channels in Europe?”
Dr. Johannes Ospald: “Sure, as we are regularly evaluating the performance of existing online channels of insurers in all of Europe, we can say that there are many opportunities to enhance business growth. To name only a few examples: on the product side, out of 35 measured product types, on average only 5 own brand product lines are currently offered per channel in Europe, 81.8% of the players feature their own motor insurance products, but only 12.6% bank products.
On the marketing side, few direct insurance channels utilize the huge potential to build a strong and unique brand, which should gain more customers at lower cost & higher loyalty. Or the fact that only 10.4% use affiliate programs. On the sales side, for example, only 16.0% offer the possibility of a live-chat. On the service side, only 16.7% display an online cancellation service.”
“What are the major needs of your business clients?”
Dr. Johannes Ospald: “Companies all over the world are currently planning or considering investments in developing a new distribution channel, leveraging aggregators as a channel or expanding services and experiences provided on the internet or over the phone.
Since 2012 we have been publishing international trend studies, which are highly appreciated. We are serving senior executives and their teams in the insurance and banking sector on their way to new opportunities and more success in the online/ direct business. That also includes personal presentations, from orientation workshops with 30 people with simultaneous translation to one-to-one meetings, from Spain to Russia, from Scandinavia to Greece.
MOUNT ONYX is one of the leading experts in Europe, with clients in more than 25 countries. We are a lean competence team and specialized.“
“You have mentioned international trend studies, what is your research approach?”
Dr. Johannes Ospald: “Well, we are the only company who can offer a complete big picture of Europe and who can give our clients the international ”glasses” to maximize their business success. In general, the availability of European online insurance data is very restrictive.
Together with our partners we are regularly tracking the entire online insurance market following a holistic multi-step approach:
First, we are conducting extensive international desk research, systematic market observation and final plausibility analyses with more than 50 industry experts in Europe and North America.
Second, we perform qualitative pre-studies about online insurances in all of Europe through website analyses, mystery shopping, Google und Youtube research, etc. The outcome are key success factors, respectively 30 growth & cost drivers with more than 300 measured and weighted criteria.
Last but not least, we are regularly carrying out extensive on-going quantitative researches of all online insurance channels in all of Europe, including multi-step data evaluation, control and preparation. The result is the biggest quantitative database about the online insurance business in Europe.”
“As I see millions of data available, what is your concrete offer to clients?”
Dr. Johannes Ospald: “We are offering added-value information: clearly summarised and presented facts and figures for relevant topics going far beyond a mere description of the online insurance industry. And all this for an investment of one consultant day or even less.
Depending on the subject of interest, we offer international studies about online insurances in Europe, such as our “Country Reports” or an “Individual Benchmarking”, which means a detailed real-time SWOT analysis of single players and competitors benchmarked with Europe, across all business functions.
In addition, we are honouring the best online insurance channels in all of Europe. Only the top 3% of existing channels are selected for the Europe Awards in 8 categories.”
“Well, many interesting facts and figures available, but what are the real benefits for senior executives and their teams?”
Dr. Johannes Ospald: “Based on our motto “think big, act cheap” we would like to assist executives to focus on doing the right things and then doing things right, to additionally translate facts and figures into customer-specific and successful solutions.
People often think they know enough about their business in their markets. Our international view means a huge resource for further improvements and innovations. It is not the 80% you already know, it is the 20% of new information, ideas and suggestions in our studies which counts. You can eat an elephant, but cut it in pieces. Sometimes only one sentence can produce at least a small change and a “quick hit” improvement can have a high impact on business success.”
“What is your company’s vision for the future?”
Dr. Johannes Ospald: “The first point of contact and information platform for online insurance and for insurers, intermediaries, banks, IT-suppliers, consulting companies and financial investors in Europe.”