In a study just released in 2009, the IBM Institute for Business Value worked with the largest IBM financial services research survey sample in its history, and from this work emerged an informed perspective on the characteristics that might be expected in the victorious integrated insurance enterprises that will emerge. In the global survey conducted in association with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), more than 8,000 industry participants, including about 150 insurance executives and a large number of consumers were interviewed to determine future trends and drivers. The study focuses on insurance but provides lessons for financial services as a whole, given the inter-relation of businesses and financial markets that was vividly demonstrated in the last two years.
When the global financial crisis began in 2008, the same corporate policies of insurers that led to lower returns also led to considerably less exposure from risky assets. As a result, the business of insurance is still sound, but lacking the insights about how to meet the needs of increasingly empowered consumers. Insurers are secure in their roles as calculators and bearers of risk, but are less able to pursue additional goals and more profitable growth business.
Key lessons from the “Balancing the scales” study include:
Balance, innovation and prudence in the face of a shifting market will lead to the creation of a stable and dynamic insurance future " one of the fundamental needs of a stable society.
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