The Shifting Competitive Landscape: A New Breed of Industry Challengers

An SMA Research Brief

Denise Garth, Partner
Publication Date:
August 28, 2014
Number of Pages:
$995.00 USD

Historically, the insurance industry has assessed its competition by looking at those companies within the industry that directly compete and sell in the same market segments, offer similar products, use the same distribution channels, or have similar market size. But, in today’s fast-changing digital economy, this approach has become outdated, and insurers are being blindsided by new challengers and competitors from outside the industry. New challengers may not compete directly by offering and underwriting insurance – they are competing in new ways to capture customer relationship, loyalty, pocketbook, and much more through innovative offerings, engagement, and business models. Where are all of these coming from? This new breed of competitors is coming out of the technology and Silicon Valley companies.

There have been numerous articles and blogs regarding the potential of companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, eBay, and other technology companies entering the insurance space, fueling speculation, concern, and for some, even fear. As a result, centuries-old industries and the companies within them are feeling the pressure to reimagine themselves, and insurance is one of them.  

The influence and impact of these technology and Silicon Valley companies is only beginning. Insurance companies are beginning to pale in comparison. In the research brief, we identified 10 challengers and discussed key business attributes that show the contrasts between these technology companies and insurers that are underpinning the rapid growth and influence of the challengers. 

The Shifting Competitive Landscape: A New Breed of Industry Challenger answers the following questions:

  • What are the key business attributes that explain the differences between these technology companies and insurers, and that underpin the technology companies’ growth and influence?
  • Who do customers most engage with, using them as the hub of other relationships and engagement?
  • How do insurer strategies contrast with these challengers? 
  • Will insurers be product manufacturers, product underwriters, product distributors, service providers, or all of the above?
  • What are the implications and opportunities for insurance?
  • How should insurers respond?

Table of Contents

  • New Breed of Industry Challengers: Technology and Silicon Valley Companies 3
  • Disruption and Convergence 5
  • Insurance Industry Implications 10
  • SMA Call to Action 12
  • About the Research and Strategy Meets Action 14
  • Sources Cited 15