The volume of new business processed by life and pensions companies nearly doubled last year as e-co...
The volume of new business processed by life and pensions companies nearly doubled last year as e-commerce continued to spread throughout the industry, according to the latest annual Quotient survey from Focus Solutions Group.
From an index base level of 100 last year, the Quotient rose to 183 as 100% of the insurers questioned said they now do business through IFA portals.
Two-thirds of insurers trade through IFA extranets and about a quarter also enable consumer websites capable of online transactions.
Nigel Smith, Focus' director of market propositions, says the rise and rise of e-commerce last year as reflected in the growth of the Quotient is indicative of the amount of business going on that is not being noticed.
"There is a lot more going on that people are aware of at the moment," he says.
"E-commerce is going forward and the technology is there for companies to use, even though there is a fair spread in terms of the uptake of that technology for business use; some companies are doing a lot, others less so. The question is: will they use it. However, it could be that, for example, e-commerce [as a requirement]could become part of the panel selection process."
The Quotient survey says that the life and pensions industry is set on spending amounts this year to boost levels of e-commerce, although firms questioned were not asked to provide specific figures.
An increasing number of stories involving positive returns on investment is also effecting the move towards rising levels of e-commerce, it says.
The cost of technology is also falling, as solutions provides find they can migrate technology used in one area to another without having to make further investments of their own.
Smith says that there are still issues acting as barriers to faster adoption of e-commerce: ROI, as already mentioned, tight limits on discretionary spending on technology, regulatory changes, and free asset ratios, which may require companies to rethink spending patterns.
However, the overall message is that more and more providers and IFAs are seeing their common interests lie in going electronic, he adds.
"We need to 'talk up' e-commerce. People are starting to reap the rewards and benefits. In terms of the Quotient, we will also use the results to steer our own investments."
"The industry can expect more news and information on e-commerce being used successfully by customers in the next while."
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