Study reveals primary drivers of success among Europe’s top performing insurers

The most successful insurers have a number of factors in common, including 'thoughtful growth', a focus on markets in single countries and digital maturity.

This is among the findings of a study conducted by Acord and Alchemy Crew on the primary drivers of success among 40 of the largest insurers headquartered in Europe, which analysed a number of financial, strategic and tactical factors over a five-year period.

Each of the insurers were evaluated by a proprietary cash flow return metric. The study then examined the quantitative and qualitative factors associated with high performance, and found that the most successful insurers shared qualities and practices – from digital maturity to leadership style – that led to superior results.

"While there is no universal rule for success across the market, there were notable trends among high-performing insurers that we saw across the five-year study period," said Sabine VanderLinden, CEO and managing director of Alchemy Crew. "Those insurers that embraced innovation and change, for example, were more likely to succeed."

"While some of the results of the study were intuitive, several others were quite surprising," added Bill Pieroni, president and CEO of Acord. "Among other factors, this study makes clear that a well-defined strategy, digital maturity and an inclusive culture are all imperative for success in European insurance markets."

Key attributes and actions among the highest-performing insurers (Source: Acord and Alchemy Crew)

• Differentiated product leadership: Top-quartile performers typically pursued a product leadership strategy, offering differentiated, valued products that fulfil a compelling market need in particular lines of business and geographies.

• Ongoing optimisation of portfolio and capabilities: Superior performers balanced long-term capability investment with short-term earnings. They were thoughtful and selective in their revenue growth, digital enablement, ecosystem participation and M&A activity.

• Culture of core competency, plus change: High-performing insurers made it a priority to attract, develop and retain talent that was diverse, motivated and highly skilled in core insurance activities, while also promoting a culture conducive to transformation.

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