How the Norwegian investment consultancy Grieg Investor has vamped up their digital presence to provide a seamless customer experience for their clients through digital self-service tools.
Most industries are under increasing pressure to cater to heightened customer expectations. Consumers have increasingly become accustomed to a range of on-demand services from other industries, with digital disruptors setting new standards for customer experiences. The pressure is on and has reached the financial-services industry and investment and wealth managers.
THE NEED FOR DIGITALISATION IN THE FINANCIAL-SERVICES INDUSTRY
The financial-services industry as a whole is under increasing pressure from customers. The McKinsey article “How wealth managers can transform for the digital age” provides some insights into the core trends driving change within the financial-services industry:
Clients are going omnichannel and digital outreach drives clients to take action, while in-person contact still remains important
Mobile is gaining interaction share and accounts for near 35 percent of client interactions
Remote engagement is growing as 30 percent of clients are open to engaging with advisors who do not live near them
Other sectors are raising customer expectations making client expectations high, particularly in digital channels
Key “experience battlegrounds” are emerging, such as great design, personalisation and simplicity as competitive differentiators
The Norwegian investment consultancy Grieg Investor is well aware of these changes and has made digital a critical success factor moving forward.
GRIEG INVESTOR: MEETING RISING CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS HEAD ON
Grieg Investor is a Norwegian based independent institutional investment consulting practice. Their core business activities are long-term investment policy, manager selection and consolidated reporting. Their clients are purely institutional, such as pension funds, family offices, municipalities, insurance companies and foundations.
Customer reporting is one of Grieg Investor’s key services. They have close to 80 customers and mostly deliver customised and tailored products rather than off-the-shelf. During the past 15 years, Grieg Investor’s clients relied on monthly reports in PDF-formats. Grieg Investor gathered information once a month, performed the necessary calculations, compounded their summaries in Excel sheets and sent out PDFs.
In 2014, Grieg Investor realised that basing their continuing customer contact on monthly PDF-reports hardly were sustainable. Noticing their competition turned to self-service portals and log-in sites, Grieg Investor decided to create an interactive and functional customer service solution providing clients with daily, not monthly, updates and results. Kjetil Svihus, operative manager of Grieg Investor, explains: “We aimed high and decided to create the best solution on the market”.
The concept Grieg Engima was born.
THE JOURNEY TO DIGITAL: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN IT AND FINANCE
After unsuccessfully searching for an adequate off-the-shelf solution, Grieg Investor engaged Noria to help them embark on their digitisation journey. Noria provided Grieg Investor with procurement competence, both the necessary structure for successful digital concept development and overarching strategic competence.
Grieg Investor had already been in dialogue with several service providers, knew what they wanted and had a thorough insight into the details of the project but sought Noria’s help to gain a high-level perspective throughout the concept development and procurement phase. Svihus explains: “We are economists. We’re good in Excel but doing development projects are something entirely different”.
Noria provided the bridge between IT and finance. Goals and targets were articulated, and specification of requirements was established to clearly communicate the particular needs to service providers with IT, rather than financial backgrounds. According to Svihus, this was valuable: “It created structure and proper execution of meeting activities. Clear agendas, clear expectations and clear deliveries already during the procurement phase. The service providers had to make their solution probable”.
Instead of basing the investment on gut feeling and flashy marketing, Noria set up a comparison module to uncover nuances and components during service provider evaluations. Each potential service provider was then invited to propose a feasible approach with a qualified overarching cost estimate, based on a description of Grieg Investor’s ambitions. This enabled Grieg Investor and Noria to qualify whether or not the service providers had understood the concept, had the necessary competence and were able to provide realisable solutions.
INTRODUCING: GRIEG ENIGMA
Realizing that many of their clients spent unnecessary amounts of time mapping data, time which could instead be spent on value adding tasks, Grieg Investor eventually launched the application Grieg Enigma, a subject-specific solution which provides clients updated daily status on all investments and results developments. Through an easy-to-use interface available both on laptop, tablets and smartphones, Grieg Enigma provides clients with two critical services:
Data aggregation and improved insights: Grieg Enigma delivers clients an updated daily status on their portfolio, both on returns and allocations. Clients can quickly identify which investments contribute most to the overall portfolio returns and gain an overview over owned shares, both on an aggregated level and per fund.
Responsible investment management through increased transparency: Successful investment strategies require a code of ethics in addition to financial targets. Grieg Enigma offers an advanced ESG module (Environment, Social, Governance) which provide clients with continuous investment monitoring down to the single share. This gives clients insight into potential exposure for controversial products or companies involved in tobacco, alcohol, weapons or gambling, Furthermore. Grieg Enigma displays the overall portfolio carbon footprint and any investments at odds with the UN’s Global Compact.
The more you understand, the better decisions you’re able to make. This is the central value proposition of Grieg Enigma and a significant contributor to increased customer satisfaction and new market opportunities. Grieg Investor is an example to be followed.
"In 2017, on-demand insurance represented below one per cent of the global insurance market. Since then, the trend has gained significant traction and is expected to grow by nearly 30% by 2026."
— RONNY REPPE, NORIA SOFTWARE
DYNAMIC RISK PRICING
The traditional pricing strategy in the insurance industry is changing. Insurers are departing from a one-size-fits-all approach to embracing a pricing strategy that differentiates the insurance price according to the specific situation and to the particular risks involved.
This trend is called dynamic pricing, which involves using algorithms that change the price of insurance based on various potential factors and data from a range of sources. Dynamic pricing enables insurers to estimate risk more accurately and provides customers with different prices based on their risk level. In other words, dynamic pricing generates price quotes that are tailored to a specific sale.
The international InsurTech Loadsure is a shining example of how the three trends we see emerging in the insurance industry can be leveraged to take the lead on digital insurance operations. The company offers insurance solutions aimed at the freight spot market, where millions of loads are transported without sufficient coverage every day – a huge liability for shippers, brokers and carriers. Wanting to improve the situation, Loadsure partnered up with leading digital transportation management platforms to offer a full-service freight insurance solution at the click of a button (insurance ecosystem). This solution enables customers to purchase all-risk coverage directly from the digital marketplaces used within the freight and logistics industry (on-demand insurance).
Furthermore, the solution collects data on everything from damage history to weather predictions during the freight period to automatically change the insurance price according to the risks involved (dynamic pricing). The consultancy firm McKinsey has identified four concrete stages of disruption, as seen from the perspective of incumbents.
During the early stages, incumbents barely feel any impact on their core businesses except in the periphery. But signals arise that indicates demand begins to “purify” – in other words, that customers address their previously unmet needs and desires. During the second stage, a clear trend has emerged. New technological and economic drivers have been validated, and incumbents must commit to new initiatives to stay relevant. Then, in stage three, a new model has proved superior to the old, and the industry is increasingly moving towards it before the industry fundamentally changes in the last stage.
I believe that the insurance industry is currently moving closer and closer to the second stage of digital disruption, as the three business trends are gaining more and more traction. Those who would like to stay at the forefront and quickly adapt to the changing industry dynamics should investigate and identify how these trends can become a vital part of their strategy during the 2020s.