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The Complete Guide to Competitive Intelligence in the Insurance Market

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How to Do Competitive Analysis Research

The four phases outlined in the introduction give you a good idea of what competitive intelligence data collection and ultimate analysis should entail. You’ll repeat those phases as needed, supported by the best-in-class features available in Knowledge360

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Competitive Intelligence: An Overview

Insurance is on a collision course with digital disruption. 

In 2019, U.S. insurance startups raised a record $2.5 billion in capital. Those startups are companies dead set on revolutionizing the insurance industry with technical innovations. 

For established companies and startups alike, Competitive Intelligence (CI) will be the key to thriving in an ever-evolving insurance industry.

CI uses data collection and in-depth analysis to clarify three aspects of your business:

  1. Your Market(s) 
  2. Your Customers 
  3. Your Competitors

When properly applied, CI will identify market trends, predict competitor actions and mitigate potential threats. 

We cannot overstate the importance of Competitive Intelligence. CI is what makes informed strategic decisions possible. Without it, teams are left to navigate their market with no knowledge of their environment and the dangers they may face. 

To put CI into practice, we need to understand exactly what it means.

 

Competitive Intelligence: Definition and Examples

As important as competitive intelligence is, the phrase is criminally misused. Typical definitions only provide a glimpse of what CI covers. Three categories of intelligence make up CI.

Those categories are:

  • Market Intelligence
  • Customer Intelligence
  • Competitor intelligence. 

Each type has a vital role in creating a complete picture of the competitive landscape. Below, we explain their differences and why each is essential.

Market Intelligence—covers all of the information outside of your business but within your market and industry. It is the first target for analysis, and it provides the broadest perspective on the competitive landscape. 

To build market intelligence, analysts consider market trends, supply and demand and market demographics. Once collected and analyzed, market information paints a comprehensive picture of a company’s environment and provides context for our other intelligence sets. 

Customer intelligence—covers your customer’s buying habits and preferences. Researching any customer base begins with information on product views, demographics and purchase history, but it cannot stop there.

Any complete analysis must reconstruct the full customer journey. After customer intelligence analysis, companies must identify what brought customers to their product, the value they see in it and how best to reach customers in the future.

With this information, product development, sales, and marketing teams can unify the customer experience and focus their efforts on the value their customers are willing to pay for. 

Competitor Intelligence—entails gathering and analyzing your competitors’ successes and failures. 

Analyzing successful companies provides an example of what strategies work in a market. Analyzing smaller “underdog” companies provide early warnings for market disruptions. Comparing these details for any company shows where they are falling short and where their actual advantages lie. 

 



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What is the Goal of Competitive Intelligence?

CI’s goal is deceptively simple: to make your company stand out from the competition with data-driven, strategic planning. 

But a complete CI plan is more than differentiation. CI plans will show companies:

  • Potential market disruptors
  • Competitors’ advantages
  • Your comparative advantage 
  • Product and service opportunities
  • Market expansion opportunities
  • More efficient supply chain and production processes

CI will provide your sales and marketing team a step-by-step guide to market differentiation and any pitfalls along the way. With those benefits, the only question is whether to conduct the analysis in-house or hire an external analyst.

What Does a Competitive Intelligence Analyst Do?

In every market, there is more data readily available than anyone could ever use. Collecting the data is not complex; extracting useful information is. 

A CI analyst’s job is to observe the market's noise, find useful signals, and develop strategies to capitalize on them. 

Collecting data—a CI analyst may use custom systems or refine the company’s existing data collection. They will also conduct primary research on customer choices, market trends and competitor specific information.

Analyzing information—after collection, the data will be in a largely unusable state. The CI analyst will analyze it and gain practical insights. 

“The right tools are necessary to eliminate wasted effort and ensure useful results.”

The right tools are necessary to eliminate wasted effort and ensure useful results. Good analysts will utilize AI and machine learning to complete collection and organization tasks too cumbersome for humans and devote their time to understanding and conveying the results.

Reporting—lastly, the CI analyst will present, explain, and discuss findings with the rest of the organization. 

A critical step in this process is creating actionable plans for specific departments. The analyst will work closely with sales and marketing teams to convey the nuance of their information and help to establish practical strategies. 

Ultimately, the CI analyst serves as a centralized resource of market, competitor and consumer insights. They will be most useful to organizations when they use this position as an insights center to operate as a bridge or liaison between departments. 

Read the Guide: What is Competitive Analysis and How to Do it?

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The Competitive Intelligence Industry

CI has never been more relevant. Data is more readily available than ever. Industry-shattering insights are all around us if companies will invest in the tools to extract them from the noise. 

As companies see the potential, they also begin to see the roadblocks. Large scale data management is impossible by hand and the tools necessary to manage it are complex. Previously, businesses could rely on small studies and customer reviews to stand out. Now, to be exceptional, customers rely on CI.

It’s no surprise that competitive intelligence is booming. Companies in every industry are looking for ways to take advantage of it. With proper preparation, any company can use CI to outpace their competition.


How to Use Competitive Intelligence to Gain an Advantage

Cipher has found that 75% of typical CI activities add no value to their companies. This is not a failing of competitive intelligence, but planning and implementation. 

In many organizations, CI programs are initiated reactively. Decision-makers are alarmed by a market disruption and attempt to gather information in direct response to the threat. 

With no preparation or direction, CI teams gather massive amounts of irrelevant data. They waste their energy sifting through meaningless noise and are pressed to make decisions before finding any actionable information.

As a result, there are no beneficial results, the CI team is removed and CI is ignored until the next market disruption. 

This picture may be bleak, but it is entirely avoidable.

Using CI to gain an advantage depends on five steps:

  1. Clearly defined objectives and strategy
  2. Focused data gathering
  3. Information organization
  4. Analysis with proper tools
  5. Practical implementation

There are two main differences in this plan from the typical CI approach. Here, we use CI as a predictive tool, not a reactive one. The analysis is designed to produce specific, actionable results, ensuring value at the end of the process.


Competitive Intelligence Process

For companies without an existing CI process, the steps listed above may not be detailed enough. Below is a complete five-step plan to make CI implementation painless.

info planning process

     1. Information Planning 

 

There are three main questions before any CI process:

  • Who are your consumers? Consider who will be using this information and how best to present it to them. 
  • What is your strategic objective? Formalize what the decision-makers hope to find.
  • Where is the information? Determine if you need dedicated researchers to find the data or if it is readily available. 

When answering the questions above, do so with time, cost, and scope in mind. When developing a strategic objective, frame it as a specific question. Then, clearly define how you expect an answer to look. Specificity here will give your team a clear direction and measure of success. 

      2. Information Collection

 

Cast a wide net during data collection. Teams can refine excess data with intelligent analysis, but they cannot make up data points to flesh out incomplete figures. 

Some common sources of data are:

  • News services
  • Google alerts
  • Marketing materials
  • Earnings reports
  • Social media

With a 24/7 news cycle and around-the-clock social media updates, it is impossible for humans to keep pace with daily data influx. Without resources to track and automate data, teams will spend far too much of their valuable time on work easily done by technology. Have plans and tools in place to ensure teams spend their time wisely. 

Click here to learn more about Knowledge360 for competitive intelligence.

     3. Information Organization

 

Information collection never stops completely, but once the team has enough data, it is time to focus resources on its organization. Use your team's industry expertise to filter the essential details from the useless data. 

In addition to simply knowing where to find data, you’ll need a way to organize and manage that mass of data in such a way that your team (and others in your company) can actually use it. Knowledge management systems solve this particular problem, and help make it much easier to find the signal within the noise.

Use collaboration to make data organization a manageable task. Spread the workload across teams to break the information into more manageable chunks. 

Large corporations will need to work to avoid information silos or barriers to information sharing. The proper CI toolset will go a long way towards centralizing data and creating a collaborative environment. 

     4. Information Analysis

 

This is the moment that turns information into intelligence. We will cover analysis tools later on in this article. The analysis process will depend on the CI toolset and expertise of the CI team. 

Regardless of the team, focus any analysis on the stated objective. Build a knowledge base that fully answers the questions you set out to answer. Once the team arrives at a conclusion, develop strategies that best capitalize on these findings. 

Above all, remember that you are attempting to understand a complex, evolving system. Use your practical knowledge of the industry to eliminate strategies that are theoretically sound but practically unviable. 

     5. Information Production and Dissemination

 

Successful dissemination and adoption rely on applicability. In step one, we identified specific questions to answer. Now, the CI team needs to present a complete and actionable response. 

First, consider the decision-makers. Teams should know what type of information executives need to make quick, effective decisions. Organize the data in a way that makes the findings most relevant to their needs. 

In your strategy, include precise, practicable next steps for departments to best use your information. Hours of work have led to this, and persuasive presentations are the difference between adoption and rejection. 

 


Competitive Intelligence Activities

After establishing an overarching CI process, companies need to consider the specific activities they will use for data gathering. CI activities fall into two categories: tactical and strategic. Both are vital for plotting a course for any organization, but they satisfy two distinct needs. 

Tactical Competitive Intelligence—delivers information to make day-to-day operational decisions. These activities are often short-term and highly focused. They include tasks such as:

  • Post-purchase interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Competitor product tests

Each activity has a highly specific goal, such as identifying the reason for a lost sale or testing the appeal of particular product features. These types of analyses are necessary to work out the finer details of sales approaches and marketing.

Strategic Competitive Intelligence—plots a company’s best path forward for long-term growth. It focuses on economic, technological and even cultural trends. Strategic activities require substantial investments and long-term plans, but they have the potential to pay dividends. These activities include:

  • Monitoring government and lobbyist activities to identify potential regulation changes
  • Reviewing legal battles and patents to find opportunities in intellectual property rights
  • Identifying emergent technology that has the potential to disrupt your market

Strategic planning does not exist to develop specific long-term plans but is best used to guide companies into the market's most profitable areas. 

 


CI Software

For CI activities, teams need the right tools. In a data-driven world, that means robust CI software. Before purchasing CI software, companies need to know their competitive intelligence maturity

Suppose a company has no CI experience or does not entirely understand the value of market and competitor intelligence (M/CI). In that case, their best option is to partner with an M/CI consulting firm. A consultant will demonstrate how the company can benefit from CI. From there, they can decide what is reasonable to invest in a CI tool.

For CI-mature companies, the selection process starts by identifying what functions the team needs. The correct M/CI software will be a force multiplier for analysts. It will minimize the time they spend on collecting and organizing data giving them more time to approach analysis creatively.

M/CI software falls into three categories:

  • Point
  • Generic
  • Purpose-Built

Point Tools—offer specific insights on limited data sources. They provide highly specialized information, such as financial statements of publicly traded companies or patent lawsuit results, and provide in-depth analysis tools. 

These solutions excel at their chosen function but do not provide a complete view of the competitive landscape. SEMRush and MOZ are excellent examples of point tools. Both specialize in search-engine keyword ranking, but neither has the complete tools to analyze other aspects of the competition. 

Generic Tools—support a wide range of business operations but are not purpose-built for CI functions. These tools are often available at no or low cost to a CI team, though they are not designed for the type of functions CI needs to thrive. 

Microsoft SharePoint is an excellent example of a generic tool. While it offers an immense degree of customizability, the functions that CI teams need are not readily available. 

Purpose-Build M/CI Software Platforms—provide a complete M/CI picture. They offer tools for industry-wide analysis as well as in-depth reporting on specific data points. They will collect data from a wide range of sources, compile that data and offer analysis tools to identify critical information. 

Along with functioning as data acquisition tools, they will also operate as central storage systems. Combining the two functions eliminates the potential for information silos and enables seamless collaboration. 

Knowledge360® is the ideal example of a purpose-built platform. Knowledge360® is the complete solution that your CI team needs to thrive. It is the only software with automated Natural Language Processing (NLP) tagging and AI searchability to save your team from sifting through useless data. Its simple user interfaces and customizable reports let teams tailor their experience to the exact results they need. Knowledge360® is a true force-multiplier for any team. 

Get a free demo of Knowledge360Ⓡ to see what your team is capable of.

What is the Insurance Industry?

With an understanding of the tools and processes we need for competitive insight, let’s consider the basics of insurance. 

The insurance industry is built on risk management contracts. Large companies quantify risk and sell contracts called policies. Individuals and companies purchase these policies to protect against the costs associated with the risk being managed.

Through a process called underwriting, the insurer determines the likelihood and cost of risk. They establish a monthly or yearly fee or premium that the insured will need to pay for coverage. 

Each policy stipulates the exact amount of damages it will cover. If the insured suffers a loss covered under the system, they will claim with the insurer to recoup the damages. 

An insurance industry can arise anywhere there is a quantifiable shared risk and parties that want to mitigate it. 

Types of Insurance on the Insurance Market

Insurance is a massive industry. In 2018, the U.S. market wrote premiums totaling over $1.2 trillion. The market is split in half between the two categories of insurance:

  • Property and Casualty (P and C) Insurance—covers property such as homes, businesses and vehicles. It also covers the insured if they are liable for damages to other peoples’ property.  
  • Health, Life and Annuity Insurance—covers the insured and their physical wellbeing. Each offers payments in the event of disasters that happen to the individual who is insured. 

Within each category lie subcategories that hold massive industries of their own. Below, we have more details on the most common types of insurance available on the market.

Automobile insurance—mandatory in the United States, is likely the most common type of insurance in America. It covers drivers, their cars and their liability for property damages and medical expenses in the event of an accident. The automobile insurance industry is estimated at 308 billion in 2020, making it one of the country's largest insurance markets.

Health insurance—covers hospitalization, doctor’s visits, and prescription medicines. The health insurance industry is expected to grow by over $1.1 trillion in 2020. 

According to 2019 research, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 58.1% of the nonelderly receive health coverage through their employers. This means that employers play a large role in insurance provider selection. As such, insurance providers often compete for the business of companies rather than individuals. 

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed the face of the health insurance industry. It established a formal health insurance marketplace, which drastically increased the insurance options available to individuals. It also widened Medicaid eligibility and prevented insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. 

The ACA expanded coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and increased the size of the healthcare industry substantially. With this new market of individual purchases came a customer-centric health insurance trend that we still see today. 

Income protection—there are a few different types of insurance that insulate both employers and employees from loss. These include workers’ compensation insurance and disability insurance.

Workers’ compensation insurance—protects employers and employees by providing medical and wage coverage for workers who are injured on the job. It is required for nearly all American businesses, though the extent of necessary coverage varies by state. 

With workers’ comp insurance, workers give up the right to file regular lawsuits for work-related injuries in exchange for a responsive workers’ compensation system. This system allows workers to begin receiving compensation almost immediately, rather than waiting years for drawn-out lawsuits. It has the added benefit of reducing the employer’s liability for employee injuries. 

Disability insurance: short-term and long-term disability insurance will cover expenses if a covered party is disabled.

Life insurance—pays a death benefit to beneficiaries if the insured dies while covered under the policy. Death benefits will typically cover any of the deceased's expenses, including debts, everyday expenses and end of life costs. There are two types of life insurance: whole life and term life.

  • Whole life insurance is a permanent policy where the insurer pays an unchanging premium from the beginning of the plan to the end of life. The plan's cash value slowly grows based on a guaranteed rate, and insurers can even borrow against it. 
  • Term life insurance comes in segments from one year to 30 years. Once the term is over, the policy expires and the insured needs to purchase a new policy at updated rates. Often this is the least expensive way to get immediate coverage but is much more costly when carried lifelong. 

Property or homeowners insurance—protects the home and belongings in the case of disaster. It also covers the liability, or legal responsibility, of any injuries that happen on your property. For individuals who do not own homes, renters and condominium insurance policies are also available. 

Top Companies in the Insurance Industry

Due to the relatively long cycles within the American insurance industry, we measure top insurance companies by a combination of market capitalization, premiums sold and net profits recorded. 

In general, insurance companies are one of two primary types, a stock company or mutual company. A mutual insurance company is owned by its policyholders, while a stock insurance company is owned by its shareholders and can be either privately held or publicly traded.

Based on those criteria, below are the largest companies in each category: 

The largest life insurance providers in the U.S. are:

  • MetLife—is the largest insurance provider in the U.S. They are also among the largest companies in the U.S. based on revenue alone. With their 2018 revenue of 67 billion and net income of 5.1 billion, they are a large presence in nearly every insurance market.
  • Northwestern Mutual—consistently holds the largest market share in the U.S. life insurance industry, with over 10% of the U.S. share. They are privately owned, with a 2019 revenue of 29 billion and net income of 1.2 billion. In addition to life insurance, Northwestern also offers numerous services in retirement planning and wealth management.

The largest health insurance providers in the U.S. are:

  • UnitedHealth—is currently the largest healthcare company in the world, with 242 billion in revenue and 14.2 billion in net income. By far, the largest force in healthcare as a whole and the dominant company in the U.S. health insurance market. 
  • Anthem—also known as Anthem BlueCross BlueShield. They are publicly traded, with a 2019 revenue of 104 billion and a net profit of 4.8 billion. Anthem is a massive force in the California health care market and has a dominant market share in many health care markets throughout the United States. 
  • Kaiser Permanente—a California based managed care consortium, with a 2019 revenue of 84.5 and a net income of 2.7 billion. Their unique consortium approach means that they are active in many more sectors than just health insurance, including venture capital and preventative research, while maintaining a reputation for high-quality care. 

The largest property and casualty insurance providers in the U.S. are:

  • State Farm—is the largest property and casualty insurance provider and the largest automotive insurance provider in the United States. They own subsidiaries that cover many insurance markets, including accident assurance, fire, and life insurance. They stand as the largest competition for any insurance provider looking to establish a niche P and C insurance market. 

Berkshire Hathaway—is a massive American holding company that owns several insurance companies. Their subsidiaries include GEICO, MedPro Group and Berkshire Hathaway GUARD. Combined, they are the 2nd largest insurance issuer in the United States. Geico auto insurance is their most considerable presence in the insurance market, but they also have a substantial market share in the commercial property and casualty markets.

Insurance Industry Performance

Insurance has been a consistent and safe industry for investors, with average growth between 4-5% for the last 15 years. But 2020 has been a shock to the system. Many providers refer to it as a lost year and expect to relinquish all 2019 gains. 

Outlooks are optimistic for 2021. Analysts predict a slow but steady recovery with growth rates returning to their usual 4-5% annually. 

Even with COVID-19, the medical insurance industry is expecting a 2.9% increase in revenues for 2020. A caveat is, spending is outpacing GDP growth. This means that providers will need to find more efficient ways to provide care without compromising quality to continue growing sustainably. 

As such, 2021 will allow current market disruptors to gain ground, but it is likely not a good time for brand new market entrants. Investors will be hesitant to pursue revolutionary business models before the industry regains some normalcy. 

The P and C insurance industry is a different story. It has steadily grown to $637 billion in annual premiums but has been slow to adapt to technological innovation.Growth has been flat or negative compared to GDP, and recent technology has not made clear impacts on efficiency or cost. Cost performance has mostly remained unchanged in 15 years. As of 2020, analysts consider property and casualty insurance ripe for disruption.

How Competitive is the Insurance Industry?

The insurance industry is dominated by companies with massive holdings, established pedigrees and resources that rival the world’s largest companies. The competition may be intimidating, not to mention the fact that this industry holds the most expensive keywords to purchase for advertising, but the market is enormous. A market on this scale allows for focused disruption and aggressive specialization. 

According to 2019 data from the American Medical Association, medical insurance competition varies substantially state by state. No areas have particularly high competition levels, and markets in areas such as Alabama, Hawaii and Michigan have notably low competition levels. In places like this, individuals often only have one reasonable option for health insurance, and their employer decides it. 

It is worth noting that while competition is low, the barrier to entry is high. With the disproportionate increase of medical expenses to GDP, breaking into any health insurance market will require substantial improvements in efficiency or quality of care. 

In P and C insurance, conditions are much more favorable for disruption. At first glance, State Farm and Berkshire Hathaway appear to be dominant across the U.S. Both are excellent at identifying and capitalizing on niche markets. In reality, there are far more niches available than either company can begin to approach. 

According to 2018 market share reports from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, while companies such as State Farm Group and Berkshire Hathaway have large portions of the overall market share, as you break it down into specialties and locations, that advantage disappears. 

A Top Insurance Company Outpaces its Competition and Better Supports its Customers During COVID-19.

Discover how a top insurance company was able to use their competitive intelligence software to stay ahead during the onset of COVID-19. 

Read the Case Study

Insurance Industry Disruptors

As expected, the P and C insurance industry is seeing the early stages of massive disruption. New firms are approaching the industry with many differentiators, but they all have one word in common: technology. 

Primarily, new firms are using technology to:

  • Reduce operating cost
  • Simplify purchasing and claims
  • Expand coverage options

Below are some of the most critical disruptors we see in today’s insurance industry. 

Insurtechs—are companies built around using technology to increase efficiency and reduce expenditures. According to a 2018 Milken Institute report, there are approximately 1500 insurtech startups in operation, and they have received over 10 billion in funding since 2012. Insurtechs have been present in the insurance market for several years, but they are now adopting a new industry model

Insuretechs won’t replace our current insurance companies, but they will revolutionize the companies that can incorporate their technology. Established companies and new entrants alike will need to embrace their proven methods to stay competitive with the industry. 

Artificial Intelligence—can consistently process information far more efficiently than any manual team. Its uses range from fraud detection and underwriting to customer service. There are currently companies in the insurance industry using AI for all three. The barrier to adoption is implementation. The reason we see Insurtechs utilizing AI but established companies eschewing it lies in the difficulty of retrofitting existing systems for AI. 

Lemonade  is perhaps the most discussed insurance disruption. Their revolutionary model pairs AI and behavioral economics to add a layer of social good to insurance. 

For most insurance companies, any amount they pay in claims impacts their revenue directly, creating an inherent conflict of interest. Lemonade instead takes a fixed amount of profits, with the remainder going directly to partnered charities.

AI automation makes this possible by drastically reducing their operational expenses and streamlining the claims process. They are also tapping into another significant disruptor we will discuss further below: customer expectations. 

Cloud Computing—remote, on-demand access to powerful computing services. Cloud computing will exponentially increase the computing power available to insurance firms. Its flexibility also offers a solution to otherwise impossible AI implementation. 

With offsite computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) programs, cloud computing makes AI integration as simple as a subscription service. As insurance-specific AI programs become more commonplace, cloud computing will be the simplest way for companies to take advantage of them. 

Allstate is the perfect example of an established company aggressively incorporating AI through cloud computing. They are leveraging AI analytics to increase flexibility with options such as real-time compensation and usage-based insurance. Taking it even further, they are even pushing into the telemetrics and predictive analytics industry with Arity. With this platform, they plan to use mobile device data to determine specific drivers’ insurance risks. 

Customer Service Expectations—customers are demanding more from insurance experiences. To stay competitive, insurers will need to provide customer-centric experiences in quoting and claims reporting. 

The traditional insurance framework does not allow this flexibility. Combined with AI and cloud computing, companies can meet customer’s ever-increasing demands. 

Say insurance is an example of a disruptor aggressively focusing on customer service expectations. They built their business model on transparency and providing exact features that customers requested. To address customer concerns and confusion, they give customers full access to the formulas they use to determine insurance rates and claims consideration.

Coverage Options—customers are demanding insurance coverage tailored to their exact needs. They are searching for more diverse coverage, options for increasing and decreasing that coverage, and flexible policy terms. Some companies bringing flexibility to their corner of the market are:

  • Ladder: a term life insurance provider backed by Fidelity. With AI analysis, they can provide new customers with a term life insurance policy in minutes, when the traditional process would take weeks.
  • CUVVA: a UK-based hourly insurance provider for uninsured drivers who need to borrow cars. Their insurance is fully comprehensive and available in minutes. 
  • Bought By Many: another UK-based firm specializing in pet insurance. They have quickly established a sizable share in the pet insurance market through a focused insurance product and a data-driven company culture. 

With so many disruptions on the horizon, no firm can expect to master every new development on its own. The successful companies will be those who can collaborate and integrate new firms that have mastered these technologies. 


Creating a Recurring CI Deliverable

Creating a recurring deliverable is one of the activities you'll absolutely want to complete to take your CI function to the next level. Sometimes you'll be asked to track things that are important to stakeholders. Other times you will expected to know about emerging news and technologies. Tracking and reporting are a way to keep people informed and influence decision making. It's a way to increase the visibility of you or your group, remind your organization the value you deliver, and prove your return on investment.

The purpose is to arm the audience with what it takes to produce an insightful report, as well as teach a little something about connected home in the process. The desired outcome is action and impact. Getting the right information out in a timely manner can lead to opportunities and actionable insights.

Read the full article learn everything from how you come up with the idea, to how do you get feedback and adjust, to create your living deliverable. Our Recurring Deliverable Outline Includes:

  • Idea Generation
  • Your Title
  • Your Audience
  • Determining Your Topics & Scope
  • The Frequency of Your Report
  • How to Format & Deliver Your Report
  • Identifying Sources
  • Helpful Tools
  • Creating an Outline & Context
  • Your Executive Summary
  • Review & Distribution
  • Asking for Feedback
  • When and What to Adjust

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Future of the Insurance Industry

The insurance market is cyclical. Over periods of years, it moves between “soft” and “hard” markets.

In a hard market, demand for insurance is high, but supply is low. Practically, premiums increase, and insurance capacities decrease due to falling investments or losses for the insurers. 

Once disruption occurs, and insurers arrive that can lower rates, offer flexible contracts or provide more coverage, insurance transitions back to a soft market. As the market adapts to these new insurers, their offerings become standard, and profits steadily decrease, until the cycle repeats. 

Generally, this cycle runs its course in each insurance specialization and area independently. Recently, COVID-19 has led to hardening markets across the board. As such, the market will reward disruptive companies, but only if they can weather this time of decreased margin. 

In the long term, it is apparent that massive change is on the horizon. In a recent Accenture study, 93% of chief strategy officers anticipate a substantial disruption in the next five years.

Insurtechs will play a large role in industry disruption. The specific technologies and approaches they take are less important than the principle that companies need to be willing to embrace the parts of their working process. To be successful, companies must maintain flexible processes and make data-driven strategic decisions. 

When companies such as Lemonade find success in AI-powered cost reduction, and when Allstate exceeds customer expectations with digital claims processes, it is a sign for other companies to take note. These are not threats that will singlehandedly revolutionize the industry. They are opportunities for companies to incorporate similar strategies for their benefit. 

As technology plays an ever-increasing role in the insurance industry, competitive intelligence will only become more critical. Knowing how competitors are succeeding and how you can translate that to your business success will be the differentiator between surviving each disruptive season.

Competitive Intelligence Tools and Resources

Any company in the insurance market needs a deep understanding of their competitors to survive. Luckily, most of the information that companies need is readily available if they can identify it. 

To understand the necessary tools, we need to review the data we are looking for and where to find it. Step one is to narrow down the data you are searching for and the insights you hope to glean from it. Cipher has compiled the most comprehensive guide to competitor analysis data sources to show where best to search for data. Some of the most common data sources include:

  • Company home pages
  • The U.S. Census Bureau
  • The Internal Revenue Service 
  • LinkedIn
  • Market-specific organizations
  • Company press releases

If you’ve reviewed the complete list of sources linked above, you know that there are too many data sources to count. Manually gathering this information would be impossible. Data collection and organization are two steps best left to technology. This is where Knowledge360® comes in. With Knowledge360®, you will get:

  • Out of the box collection and organization from all of the data sources listed above (and thousands more)
  • AI-powered searching and Natural Language Processing based tagging to identify vital information quickly
  • Built-in collaboration and data sharing tools
  • Support from a team of world-class CI experts

Knowledge360® will eliminate the time your team would spend sifting through mountains of useless data and deliver you only the key insights. That leaves your analysts the time they need to perfect your strategy. 

This option works perfectly for teams with resources to spare for CI analysis. For companies without the resources to spare, Cipher offers a different approach. 


Our Approach to Competitive Intelligence

CI teams have successfully broken the “M/CI cycle of Death.” AI and machine learning have drastically reduced the time it takes to collect and organize data, but technology still cannot provide strategic insight. 

Technology-focused CI firms have increased their efficiency to the point that they can provide almost real-time data, but that efficiency doesn’t always translate to more value for you. 

Most firms make you choose between thorough, technology-driven analysis and human strategic planning. These options lead to impractical strategies or practical strategies days after they were useful.

Cipher seamlessly blends both to give you data-driven solutions tailor-made for your company when you need them.

Cipher has honed its CI methods in competitive business landscapes for almost 25 years. In that time, they’ve learned that for every company, there is a unique set of needs. And unique needs require agile strategies.

As technology grows and techniques evolve, Cipher uses those new tools to automate critical but mundane tasks. This frees our expert analysts to dedicate their time to your strategy.

Choosing Cipher for strategy consultation guarantees that you will:

  • Understand your positioning within the market
  • Be up to date on all market trends, with plans in place to take advantage of new opportunities
  • Have all the information you need to enter new markets
  • Know the gaps in your market, as well as the strategies to exploit them
  • Support all of your strategic decisions with real-world data

If any one of those benefits is compelling, schedule a consultation today to see how Cipher’s competitive intelligence can revolutionize your business.

Knowledge360 for Competitive Intelligence

Cipher knows that competitive intelligence doesn’t happen in a vacuum. As you’re analyzing data, the market is changing around you, and you need to turn your findings into action as quickly as possible. Once you’ve analyzed the data, you still have an entire team to bring up to speed. Knowledge360Ⓡ makes this step simpler than ever before. 

With a centralized data storage system, out-of-the-box cross-department collaboration tools, your team will be connected in real-time. With its customizable dashboards, reports, and alerts, every analyst can focus on only just the information they need.

Knowledge360 brings your team together better than any other CI solution. 

Request a free demo today to see how Knowledge360Ⓡ can deliver the right information at the right time.  

Schedule a Demo