The world is experiencing a unique situation. Over the past months, hundreds of millions of people from all over the globe have been forced to stay home, overnight. The economy came to a halt. The current pandemic determines what we talk about, what we can do and what our future looks like. Besides all the necessary short-term measures, insurers also need to think beyond the current crisis to a future that may be very different. We have identified four post-COVID trends that insurers should definitely tap into.
Waking up in a different world — and rapidly adapting to it
During the first couple of weeks, we found ourselves in a post-apocalyptic movie like “Mad Max.” High streets turned into ghost towns. Mass panic buying began of all types of shelf-stable food, survival gear and water. In the U.S., according to Yelp, gun interest went up 360%, as if people were preparing for the end of time. But human adaptability turned out to be astonishing. Very quickly, everyone tried to make the best out of the changed situation. Where we cannot follow our old routines any more, like going to the supermarket to get groceries, people immediately find an alternative by meeting their needs online. And when we could not work at the office any more, we almost seamlessly continued at home, even while combining this with home-schooling for kids. The scale of change in consumer behavior, in such a short time, has been gigantic and unprecedented.
Trying out new things
For a lot of people, the current situation provides a reason to try new things. DIY stores and garden centers watch their revenues rise. Baking pies and playing board games have become popular activities. Alcohol consumption went up by 42% in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in China divorces significantly increased. This is an interesting time for behavioral scientists.
The world is about to open again, little by little
In many countries, the lockdown measures are alleviated little by little. Now that the world is becoming open to us again, we can start giving more attention to the post-pandemic future.
Some expect, or hope, that everything will get back to how it used to be. We believe that because of COVID-19 we entered a new era. Not only because of the economic crisis, but mostly because COVID-19 has the potential to create more permanent changes in customer perceptions and behavior. A number of COVID-19-related shifts in customer behavior are temporary, purely based on coping with the crisis, but other, more fundamental shifts are here to stay.
Although we know that the pandemic will eventually wane, a significant part of our new behavior will stick. Insurers that also want to be successful after the crisis have to understand this new behavior and turn this understanding into propositions and experiences that strike the right chord. They should start thinking ahead and reimagining the way they can stay relevant after the dust has settled.
4 Key Post-COVID-19 Trends Insurers Should Tap Into
We believe that, specifically for the insurance industry, the current crisis amplifies four consumer trends that determine the priorities of insurance customers and what they will value in a post-COVID-19 world. These four trends should serve as inspiration to reimagine the future of insurance beyond COVID-19. Let’s take a closer look at each of these trends.
- Trend #1: Health First — More Than Ever
- Trend #2: Connected Living — Now For Real
- Trend #3: Unprecedented Uncertainty — Lasting Long
- Trend #4: Empathy in Everything — Show You Care
Re-Imagining Post-COVID-19 Relevancy
The four trends set the stage
COVID-19 is having a significant impact on people’s lives, beyond social distancing. It seems the Maslow pyramid is turned upside-down; putting your health first is the top priority. The trends toward connected living shifted into a higher gear. The unprecedented uncertainty that people experience regarding the health situation, the recession and their job security is not likely to change soon. The current crisis also highlights the importance of empathy in everything and the human dimension. Consequently, consumers and businesses are looking for a new generation of products and services that fit these new circumstances.
Leaders of insurance companies therefore not only have the short-term challenge to keep their business afloat. At the same time, they also have to make sure the company remains relevant in the new market conditions once the dust is sort of settled. They need to fast-forward digital transformation and reconsider not only processes, products and services, but distribution and operating models, as well. Moreover, they should think of new business and revenue models, leverage the latest technologies and insurtech partnerships and seize new opportunities. The four trends set the stage.
Never waste a crisis
It’s not all gloom and doom. A crisis usually functions as a great breeding ground for innovation. Innovation is no longer optional but urgent and crucial. It is impossible to fight this crisis with the same instruments that you use when everything is going well. The new conditions and constraints force us to think in new ways. Moreover, we see across industries and companies that executives and employees are more open to radical solutions and are much more efficient in realizing these solutions. Think of how rigorously companies and colleagues have switched to remote working. If we abstract from the current situation, we can only conclude that we have exciting times ahead — if we know how to seize the opportunities.