Insurance has typically been sold via brokers and other third parties that could advise customers on policies that best matched their needs. But the connected consumer is better informed, and customer behaviour is rapidly evolving. Digital-first companies have also started to exert their influence over the insurance industry in recent years. New entrants in the insurance landscape have excelled at interacting with customers and have simplified the customer journey.

Listed below are the top public companies impacted by D2C in insurance, as identified by GlobalData

Aviva – UK

Aviva is the largest UK insurance company, serving over 15 million customers in the country. The company provides life insurance, general and health insurance, and fund management services. It has a strong presence in the direct channel. The company’s products came off price comparison sites in 2008 as the insurer pushed towards more customer-centric models. It is also developing flexible, on-demand products. The MyAviva platform allows customers to view and manage their insurance policies and investments in one place.

In recent years, Aviva has opened three “digital garages” in the UK, Singapore, and Canada, where tech-savvy engineers explore advanced technologies with the aim of improving Aviva’s policies, processes, and the overall customer journey.

AXA – France

AXA is one of the world’s leading insurance companies. Headquartered in Paris, the group operates in Western Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East. AXA provides insurance cover across three key business areas: life and savings, property and casualty, and asset management.

AXA has implemented new delivery methods to reach customers directly. For instance, in India it offers customers the ability to purchase general insurance policies and renewal premiums via WhatsApp.

Direct Line – UK

The Direct Line Group provides a range of personal and commercial nonlife insurance products under brands including Direct Line, Churchill, Privilege, Green Flag, and NIG. The bulk of Direct Line’s business is in the commercialisation of general insurance products, although it also offers life policies. More specifically, Direct Line provides motor, home, pet, travel, and life insurance.

Direct Lines prides itself for its customer-centric approach. Since the company was established in 1985 it has cut out third parties. Initially, Direct Line distributed insurance from a single call centre, but today its products are also available online.

LV= – UK

LV= is a financial products and services provider headquartered in Bournemouth, the UK. The company offers a range of insurance, savings, investment, and retirement products.

LV= sells a range of life products including life insurance, term assurance, income protection plans, critical illness insurance, pension plans, and annuities. The company also sells general insurance such as motor, home, travel, and pet insurance, as well as landlord insurance. In addition, LV= offers underwriting and investment advisory services.

The company distributes its products directly to consumers and through IFAs, agents, brokers, and other intermediaries. It also markets its products through digital channels and has partnerships with retail brands and motor manufacturers.

Vitality – UK

Vitality provides health and life insurance cover to individuals and businesses. Its core offerings are patient-centric. The company provides comprehensive cover, although some level of personalisation is available to customers. Customers have access to a 24/7 private GP helpline as well as access to GP video appointments within 48 hours.

Vitality stands out for the way it engages and rewards customers. The company’s reward-based program incentivises customers to exercise regularly and earn monthly activity points that can be exchanged for rewards at retailers such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Cineworld. In order to track their level of activity, policyholders are entitled to purchase an Apple Watch at a discounted price from the insurer. The company also offers discounts on the Good Health food range from supermarket chain Waitrose.

Zurich – Switzerland

Zurich is one of the largest insurance companies globally. With customers in over 170 countries, it has a particularly strong presence in Europe and North America. The company offers insurance products across a range of segments, with its core business segments being general insurance, life insurance, pensions, and savings and investments.

Zurich sells through intermediaries as well as the direct channel. Customers can reach out to the insurer via traditional methods such as the phone, as well as online and through social platforms. Zurich’s chatbot Zara creates an additional way of interacting with customers during the claims process.

This is an edited extract from the Direct to Customer in Insurance – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.