Digital Playbooks for Insurers, Part 2: Scouting Small-to-Medium Business Indicators

Though the final numbers for Super Bowl LII aren’t in, last week’s game likely generated nearly $15 billion in additional retail sales.[i] Compare this to insurance’s SMB market, with an estimated yearly value of an additional $80-$100 billion in premiums, split among far fewer companies.[ii]  Digital playbooks could help insurers capture some of this revenue.

In the first of my four blogs on insurer playbooks, we looked at the consumer market from the vantage point of a pre-game analysis. This week, we’ll once again be taking a pre-game approach to playbook development, but we’ll focus instead on scouting out this highly-coveted small-medium businesses market for opportunities that may lie in understanding SMB ownership and size.

Playbooks are the core of game strategy. Last Sunday, as many watched the big Super Bowl game, they saw well-honed playbooks in action, with some unique plays to leap frog the competition and keep momentum — remember Nick Foles’ trick play touchdown!  A playbook accomplishes several things at once. First, it gives the coach a group of testing plays that it will run against any team that it encounters. Once the coaches have a feel for the opposing team’s response to those plays, they are then free to quickly adapt their playbook to capitalize on opportunities the rest of the game.

Every team’s playbook is different, and for good reasons. Certain plays that work for one team will not be compatible with others. The universal truth behind playbooks, however, is that they are forward-focused. Understanding the NEXT opponent is always more important than looking at your past opponents. In insurance, the same holds true. Understanding where the market is going, rather than where it has been, will help insurers efficiently use their time in preparation. Playbooks unify the insurer’s teams behind the best responses to industry change, ensuring they are in the game to win.

Majesco is helping insurers build their unique digital playbooks with our strategic business platform solutions and market research-based thought-leadership reports. We are helping insurers anticipate the opportunities of the unfolding and changing insurance markets, and then assisting insurers with creating a platform that will flexibly help them test and capture new opportunities “on the fly.” In our recent thought-leadership report, Insights for Growth Strategies: The New Small to Medium Business Insurance Customer, we look at both the differences and synergies in SMB needs, when accounting for both business size and the generation of the business owner.

In today’s blog, we’ll focus on Pregame Analysis and in our next SMB blog, we’ll look directly at Ideal Offerings that insurers can use to target SMB businesses.

SMB Segment Playbooks — Pregame Analysis

An important first step in any pre-game analysis is to obtain a thorough understanding of the background and context within which the game is occurring. Our report highlights that the context has been shifting dramatically and rapidly. Insurance 1.0 business models of the past 30+ years have been based on the business assumptions, products, processes, and channels primarily for the Silent and Baby Boomer generations who built traditional small-medium businesses (SMBs) such as flower shops, retail, automotive repair, and more. As the Millennials and Gen Z mature and increasingly become entrepreneurs of new businesses or take over existing businesses, we see the next generation of SMB owners whose influence is growing and intensifying. They are shifting the fundamental business models of all businesses, including insurance, by demanding the use of digital technologies, new products and services that align to their demographics, needs and expectations … creating Digital Insurance 2.0. This will fuel tremendous growth for both SMBs and insurers.

Adding to this growth momentum are unprecedented expansion opportunities for commercial, specialty and group / voluntary benefit insurers in terms of new risks, new markets, new customers, and the demand for new products and services.  So, having a scouting report to capture these opportunities before others, including new competitors from InsurTech or greenfields launched by existing insurers, is more important than ever.


Scouting reports show the impact of age and size

Driving that point home, the results from this year’s SMB research underscore an acceleration in changing behaviors and interest in using new business models and technologies that are re-shaping insurance, up to 20%. When it comes to experience with these technologies and trends, there is a clear, strong interaction between business owner age (generation) and the size of the company (number of employees). Cumulative participation rates in the behaviors we asked about increase with company size; but within each company size category, they also are at their highest levels with the Gen Z/Millennials group, and decrease with increasing age for older generations.

Given the strong interaction effect caused by these two factors, we grouped the SMBs in our survey into 8 segments based on 3 generation groups (Gen Z & Millennials, Gen X and Pre-Retirement Boomers) and 3 business sizes (1-9, 10-99 and 100-499 employees).

Similar to our companion consumer research study highlighted in our last blog, we categorized our analysis of the segments’ participation in these behaviors into six key areas: Gig economy, connected devices, payment methods, products, channels and other emerging technologies. Here are some of the highlights:

  • All segments are actively engaged in the Gig Economy, both as providers and consumers of independent contractor/freelancer services – averaging between 36-40%. The smallest companies are most likely to have been an independent business based on working as an independent contractor.
  • There is strong, widespread use of apps and connected devices in buildings across most of the segments, with the highest use of 44% by Gen Z/Millennials and Gen X in companies with 10-99 employees, followed by a third of those in the largest companies.
  • Use of connected devices in company vehicles is less prevalent, but nearly a third of Gen X/Millennials with 1-9 employees and Gen Z/Millennial and Gen X in companies with 10-99 employees are actively using this technology.
  • Use of ApplePay and SamsungPay is strong among all segments except Pre-Retirement Boomers with less than 10 employees. Overall, the increased use of digital payment capabilities is heightening growing expectations across these segments for all types of purchases, including insurance.
  • On-demand insurance was particularly strong, with 13% to 41% already purchasing it for a specific event, and with high rates of usage among Gen X and Pre-Retirement Boomers. Between 30% and 50% of the Gen Z/Millennial and Gen X segments are experienced with cloud-based subscription products, highlighting their comfort in purchasing products with this business model approach.
  • Most segments have had experience purchasing insurance from a website, with Gen Z/Millennials leading the use of this channel at 19%-39%.
  • The Gen Z/Millennial segments slightly lead the older generations in their use of drones and 3D printers (or items produced by one) with usage at 10%-13%. Interestingly, 30% of the Gen X/Boomer 100-499 employee segment reported the use of a 3D printer. These are two rapidly-growing technologies that create new risk implications and as such, require new products and services.
  • The behavior and expectation increases for Gen X and Pre-retirement Boomers coupled with the already high levels for Gen Z and Millennials are driving significant interest in new, innovative products and channels for insurance, with Millennials and Gen Z leading the way.
  • A strong appeal among SMBs for reducing costs and risks through value added services and social networking options stood out.

As new companies emerge and the leadership of companies, both large and small, continues to transition to the Gen Z and Millennial generations, use and expectations around digital technologies and activities will continue to accelerate, influencing new behaviors, needs and risks that require innovative insurance products and services represented by Digital Insurance 2.0.

New players are intent on winning…it’s time to up your game now

Both traditional business insurers, intent on keeping pace, and startup insurers, intent on staying ahead, are grasping the tremendous gap in SMB coverage and its corresponding opportunities for growth. Digital Insurance 2.0 models are proving themselves to be more valuable and relevant to today’s SMB owners. To look more deeply at model impact, Majesco tested four business models within our survey group to find out which models would resonate with business owners. We also went one step further and examined 30 attributes that can be used to build Digital 2.0 models. Suffice it to say, the responses across these models reached 50% and with the swing group up to 80% or more across many of the segments, highlighting the competitive threat posed by these new business models.

In my next blog, we’ll look deeper at the survey results and see how our SMB Segment Playbooks confirmed the need for different market and product strategies. We’ll tie the most popular of the 30 attributes to specific SMB segments and suggest Ideal Offerings for insurers hoping to reach those segments. For an in-depth look at Majesco’s findings, download and read Insights for Growth Strategies: The New SMB Insurance Customer.

Digital playbooks are essential to accessing the hard-to-reach SMB customer. Without shifting to a Digital Insurance 2.0 framework, they will be even harder to capture … let alone retain in the coming years, putting insurers stuck in Insurance 1.0 at risk.

Are you ready to move to Digital Insurance 2.0 and capture your share of the $80-100 billion SMB opportunity?

[i] D’Allegro, Joe, Super Bowl billions: The big business behind the biggest game of the year, CNBC, February 2, 2017,

[ii] Mason, Thomas, In commercial lines insurtech, some are starting small, SNL Financial research, October 3, 2017,

About the author

Author Denise Garth

Denise Garth is Chief Strategy Officer responsible for leading marketing, industry relations and innovation in support of Majesco’s client centric strategy, working closely with Majesco customers, partners and the industry.

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