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How do life insurers plan to grow their companies?

Life Insurance and Annuities
by Lisa Jiang
More life insurers tracking policyholder habits with technology
More life insurers tracking policyholder habits with technology

It's no secret in the life insurance industry that the last few years haven't been particularly robust in terms of bringing in new clients, but firms in that field are certainly focusing more on that issue in particular these days. There seem to be, however, many different methods by which they're going to try to grow their business in the coming year, even beyond those efforts.

Today, 39 percent of insurers say that their top priority is currently trying to identify new customers who might have been overlooked in markets they thought they'd already mined, according to a new survey from State Street. Meanwhile, more than 1 in 4 think that the efforts they're making to keep their technological strategy in line with that one is solid. Further, more than 3 in 4 say that changing demands among customers are actually prompting them to change the ways in which they invest in technology going forward.

And when it comes to how they plan to reach new customers given the current attitudes people seem to have about such coverage, 59 percent say they're trying to get their customer relationship management systems improved significantly, the report said. Slightly fewer - 57 percent - say that they're working on engagement through social media specifically, and exactly half say they're using technology to gain new and better insights into customers' preferences overall.

Potential hiccups remain
Meanwhile, these companies may face a number of hurdles in this regard, the report said. In all, 86 percent of companies say that existing technology they use has long affected their IT efforts overall. Further, only 38 percent said the systems they have now are helping them mine data for new ideas, and just 9 percent have been successful in using these systems to help them get a better look at their current portfolios.

However, only 53 percent of those polled said that they would rank their firms as having "rapid" innovation in these areas, and only 19 percent believe senior leaders put an emphasis on these efforts, the report said. And only another 35 percent of respondents believe that their companies' ongoing technology strategies are in line with their current objectives.

Life insurance companies that want to succeed in this regard may want to look inward to make sure they're as poised as possible in terms of being able to take steps forward for consumer engagement, especially as the economy continues to improve.

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