Insurance companies are aggressively pursuing internet initiatives and investing significantly in eventures but not in staff skills, according to a study by management consultancy PMI in conjunction with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), launched last week.

“Chief executives do not particularly feel like they have a gun pointed at their heads urging them to go ‘e' or die,” it was found.

But it was found that “people within the industry are less ‘techno-confident' than they care to admit”.

The internet was seen as only one of a host of channels that customers choose to interact with an insurance company.

But it was expected the balance of power would transfer from insurance providers to the end consumer, with companies needing to tailor their product to the individual.

There was found to be a need to concentrate on core competencies and outsource other work. “It is deemed that the insurance industry needs to concentrate more on activities that add shareholder value.”

A number of needs were identified:

  • to generate higher shareholder returns
  • to determine the business model to be adopted to compete on the internet
  • to prioritise IT requirements to compete successfully online
  • to step up ebusiness-related training and to review employment packages.

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