RGA has a view on the answer to digital disruption. They feel that the answer is increasing engagement and they list a number of ways to tackle that are listed in this excellent article. There is gold in this list, and perhaps one of the best points is buried a bit lower down: 'leverage the data you have'. Insurers collect almost unbelievable amounts of data. I mean 'unbelievable' too. For clients that have never bought life insurance before they are usually astonished, and disbelieving, about the extent of the application form. Applications to borrow huge sums of money are usually shorter. But the sad fact is that most of that information will be barely glanced at, just once. For a few clients it will be studied hard - sometimes twice, but even more rarely, more than that. If the information could be used to connect better with the customer over the medium term, to achieve something of daily relevance to the customer, then they may be less inclined to cancel their insurance.
With wearables companies, focused on engagement first, their businesses seem to have developed almost the opposite way around. "Look at all this cool data we could give people!" Then, based on what they found, served to customers all the time, they gradually began to build business models. Of course, many of them will fail - and only a few succeed. Technology is littered with failures - consider the brief and beautiful explosion of navigation systems for cars, now mostly subsumed into Google and smartphones. Life insurers, who write contracts with promises to pay many years in the future, cannot afford to run with the typical start-up attitude. But they could pinch a few tricks from them which, I think, is the overarching message of this piece from RGA.