Insurers from all countries and sectors are looking for new growth opportunities. Konstanze Reinecke, Partner in the Cologne office, shares her insights on growth opportunities in insurance.
McKinsey: What is the current growth status in the insurance business, can you describe possible challenges and how can you address them?
Konstanze Reinecke: Insurance players, particularly in mature markets, have reached saturated growth potential and are looking for further growth opportunities. At the same time, strong market-shaping dynamics create exactly the new opportunities that insurers are looking for – for example through ecosystems or verticalization. Operating in these areas requires new skills, particularly digital skills – new skills and abilities that go beyond operational excellence, which has historically been a key growth factor enabling attractive price positions.
McKinsey: Why is this happening? And how will the growth dynamics affect the future of the insurance industry?
Konstanze Reinecke: We are increasingly seeing a winner-takes-all dynamic in the insurance industry. Let me describe this as an example for health insurance. Three business model types are currently winning:
- Global established companies: The top quintile derives nearly all economic gain from sustained performance.
- Local guides: Soar to peak performance and increase polarization.
- Digital “attackers” (insurtechs and established tech players): Despite the small scale, the market has high expectations.
With increasing digitization, the skills required and the investments to make, insurers need to invest their resources intelligently. Successful platform players invest up to 20 percent of their turnover in digitization. This is a bigger challenge for small and medium-sized players – and many health insurers fall into this category. These insurers face key strategic questions: How can they capitalize on cross-industry scale of business? What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying versus building (and also versus partner decisions)? How can they shape a specific value proposition?
McKinsey: How do leading carriers do it, how do they grow sustainably?
Konstanze Reinecke: Leading companies with a strong growth path follow four growth frameworks:
- Defining success: Determine the appropriate baseline measurement for organizational growth (including rationale for growth, growth metrics and baseline, ambition and risk definition)
- Decide “where to play”: Identify growth opportunities across customers, products, channels and geographies (including neighborhood expansion, product innovation, risk appetite reallocation and customer segmentation)
- Discover how to track the “growth playing field”: Development of portfolio of bold moves to seize the opportunity (including Customer Journey Transformation, Digital Service Operations, Sales and Commercial Excellence, Footprint and Agency Model Optimization, Digital Marketing and Digital Business Building)
- Decide how to run the opportunities: Start implementation to achieve transformative growth (top team alignment and effectiveness, digital, data and analytics skills, agile operating model and change management)
Konstanze Reinecke is a partner in McKinsey’s Cologne office.