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The Insurance Market 保险市场

Property Casualty Insurance

The property-casualty market is very competitive. To effectively compete in a market saturated with competition, insurers must monitor the following aspects of the insurance marketplace:

  • Consumers 消费者
  • Marketing Techniques 营销技巧
  • Property Casualty Market Factors

We will cover each of these in more detail in the subsequent pages of this unit.

Consumers 消费者

There are four primary consumers of insurance in the property-casualty industry:

  • Individuals 个人
  • Small businesses 小型企业
  • Middle markets 中东市场
  • National accounts 国民账户

Each insurance consumer can be categorized by five customer characteristics. We’ve listed these characteristics below in the order of importance starting with the characteristic that best defines each consumer group.

  • Need for insurance 保险需求
  • Insurance knowledge 保险知识
  • Means of purchasing insurance
  • Capacity to negotiate 谈判能力
  • Alternatives to insurance

Individuals 个人

An individual is a person who buys insurance. Individuals typically purchase auto and home insurance to cover their personal exposures.

  • Need for insurance – The majority of individuals have the same insurance needs. Individuals need insurance coverage for real property, personal property, and liability. Insurers pool these individuals into groups because they all have similar needs and loss exposures.
    保险需求 - 大多数人都有相同的保险需求。个人需要不动产、个人财产和责任保险。保险公司将这些人集中到一组,因为他们都有类似的需求和损失风险。

    The insurer then assigns a rating factor to each group of similar individuals, this calculates the appropriate premium for each group.
  • Insurance knowledge – The individual typically has limited insurance knowledge. The everyday person does not usually understand the complexities of insurance.
    保险知识 - 个人的保险知识通常有限。普通人通常不了解保险的复杂性。

    Individuals rely on experts in the industry, such as brokers and agents, to navigate the insurance market and educate the individual.
  • Means of purchasing insurance – Individuals either purchase insurance from an insurance expert, such as a producer, or directly from the insurer through a website or call center.
  • Capacity to negotiate – The individual has very little ability to negotiate with the insurer. The insurer holds the power to reject or accept a person’s insurance application. If an individual is not happy with their insurance, the only option is to switch to a different insurer.
  • Alternatives to insurance – Individuals have very few alternatives to insurance. The primary alternative is retention, but insurance is often required by mortgagors, banks, and the government. This means that the individual cannot use an insurance alternative.

Small Business 小型企业

A small business is a company with few employees. This company is small and does not have an internal Risk-Management department:

  • Need for insurance – Small businesses need insurance coverage for commercial exposures, such as business owner’s insurance, workers compensation, and commercial auto coverage.
    保险需求 - 小企业需要商业保险,如企业主保险、工人赔偿和商业汽车保险。
  • Insurance knowledge – Similar to the individual, a small business typically has limited insurance knowledge. Small business owners do not usually understand the complexities of insurance and commercial insurance risks.
    保险知识 - 与个人类似,小企业的保险知识通常也很有限。小企业主通常不了解保险和商业保险风险的复杂性。
  • Means of purchasing insurance – Small businesses rely on local agents and brokers to purchase insurance.
    购买保险的方式 - 小企业依靠当地代理商和经纪人购买保险。
  • Capacity to negotiate – Small businesses have little ability to negotiate with the insurer. Like an individual, the insurer holds the power to reject or accept a small business’s application.
  • Alternatives to insurance – Small businesses have very few alternatives to insurance. The primary alternative is risk-retention groups.

Middle Markets 中间市场

A middle market company is a larger company with more employees than a small business. This company is usually large enough to hire a small internal Risk-Management department.

  • Need for insurance – Middle market companies have varying needs for insurance. The company’s need for insurance depends on the type of product or service sold by the company. These needs can include product liability, workers compensation, and commercial auto insurance.
    保险需求 - 中等市场公司对保险的需求各不相同。公司对保险的需求取决于公司销售的产品或服务类型。这些需求包括产品责任险、工人赔偿险和商业车险。
  • Insurance knowledge – Middle market companies usually have enough income to hire an internal Risk-Management department. The Risk-Management department can review loss history to predict future losses and navigate the insurance industry.
    保险知识 - 中等市场公司通常有足够的收入聘请内部风险管理部门。风险管理部门可以回顾损失历史,预测未来损失,并了解保险行业。

    Middle markets have more insurance knowledge than individuals and small businesses.
  • Means of purchasing insurance – Middle markets typically use brokers to purchase insurance. The broker helps the middle market company find the best insurance program to meet the company’s unique business needs.
    购买保险的方式 - 中间市场公司通常通过经纪人购买保险。经纪人帮助中等市场公司找到最佳的保险计划,以满足公司独特的业务需求。
  • Capacity to negotiate – Middle market companies have more leeway to negotiate with insurers for better coverage and a better rate. Middle market companies have a credible loss history, Risk-Management department, and a broker to help in negotiation.
    谈判能力 - 中间市场公司有更多的余地与保险公司谈判,以获得更好的承保范围和更优惠的费率。中间市场公司有可靠的损失记录、风险管理部门和经纪人来帮助谈判。
  • Alternatives to insurance – Middle market companies have greater alternatives to insurance. Middle markets can use large deductible plans, captive insurers, risk-retention groups, and contingent capital programs instead of insurance.

National Accounts 国民账户

A national account is a large company, typically one that generates multimillion-dollar revenue each year, hires a large number of employees, has multiple offices located across the country, and funds a large dedicated internal Risk-Management department.

  • Need for insurance – National accounts have a more complex insurance need than middle markets and small businesses. National accounts often need to combine a wide array of commercial insurance policies with retention plans to fully cover the exposures faced by the business.
    保险需求 - 与中间市场和小型企业相比,全国性客户的保险需求更为复杂。全国性客户通常需要将各种商业保险与自留额计划结合起来,以全面覆盖企业面临的风险。
  • Insurance knowledge – National accounts hire dedicated Risk-Management expertise in a fully-funded Risk-Management department. This department gives the national account a complete knowledge of the insurance market.
    保险知识 - 全国性客户在一个资金充足的风险管理部门聘请专门的风险管理专家。该部门为全国性客户提供全面的保险市场知识。

    National accounts also work with national brokers to better grasp a full understanding of the market and new insurance needs.
  • Means of purchasing insurance – National accounts purchase insurance through national brokers. These brokers are dedicated to working with large businesses to find the best insurance coverage for all exposures.
    购买保险的方式 - 全国性客户通过全国性经纪人购买保险。这些经纪人致力于与大型企业合作,为所有风险寻找最佳保险。
  • Capacity to negotiate – National accounts have the best ability to negotiate with insurers. National accounts generate millions of dollars in premium for the insurer; the insurer is typically open and flexible to accommodate the needs of a national account.
    谈判能力 - 全国性客户与保险公司谈判的能力最强。全国性客户能为保险公司带来数百万美元的保费;保险公司通常会持开放和灵活的态度,以满足全国性客户的需求。
  • Alternatives to insurance – National accounts have a wide variety of insurance alternatives available including pools, captive insurers, and retention.

Marketing Techniques 营销技巧

Insurers must differentiate themselves in the competitive insurance market. Insurers must use marketing techniques that resonate with their target market and customer groups.

When selecting the appropriate marketing technique, the insurer must consider the following:

  • Business size 企业规模
  • Distribution system 配送系统
  • Location 地点
  • Product 产品
  • Target market 目标市场

Business Size 业务规模

The level of competition an insurer faces depends on the size of the insurer. A smaller insurer is at a disadvantage as they face competitors with better branding, larger Marketing departments, and more funds available for marketing.

  • The insurer should consider their size when deciding which market to target. 
  • For example, a small-scale insurer will face more challenges in a heavily competitive market, such as homeowners insurance.

    The small-scale insurer should instead focus on a niche market with less competition, such as the mobile home market, where the insurer can tailor their products and marketing to their target customers.

Distribution System 配送系统

A distribution system is a process used to move products from the seller to the buyer. This is the entire system of procedures, systems, and activities that take place to move goods and services from the source to the consumer.

Insurer distribution systems include independent agents, exclusive agents, and direct writers.

  • When choosing a marketing technique, the insurer should consider the distribution system preferences of their target market. 
  • For example, older consumers may prefer the independent agent system whereas younger consumers may prefer an internet-based distribution system.

Location 地点

When choosing a marketing technique, the insurer should consider their geographic location and the location of their target market. The insurer must choose the best geographic location to target their marketing.

For example, a regional insurer in New England should not be advertising on billboards in California.

Products 产品

The insurer should consider their target market when determining the best product to offer consumers. The product should be tailored toward its target audience.

For example, an insurer targeting college-age renters should consider a product that covers the insured’s property when stored at home or stored in a college dorm.

Target Market 目标市场

The product, services, and marketing technique of the insurer should always be based on the insurer’s target market. The insurer must consider their target group before selecting a marketing technique.

  • Marketing intelligence – Marketing intelligence is data gathered about a target market to help the insurer make informed decisions. For example, the insurer can collect information about the target market’s attitudes and behavior to help design a new advertising campaign.
    营销情报 - 营销情报是收集的有关目标市场的数据,用于帮助保险公司做出明智决策。例如,保险公司可以收集目标市场的态度和行为信息,以帮助设计新的广告活动。

Market Factors 市场因素

The property-casualty insurance market is unique. It is affected and disrupted by factors that would not affect any other business. The property-casualty market is affected by the following elements of insurance:

  • Catastrophic events 灾难性事件
  • Economy 经济
  • Regulations 条例
  • Technology 技术
  • The Underwriting Cycle 核保周期

Catastrophic Events 灾难性事件

A catastrophic event is an unexpected event, such as a natural disaster, that causes a severe financial burden to the affected area. For example, a tornado damages all the homes in a town.

  • Catastrophic events are costly; when a catastrophe occurs, it imposes a severe financial burden on the insurers covering the claims in the affected area.
  • Insurers must attempt to predict the expected severity of catastrophic losses for each year. Underestimating a catastrophe can result in insolvency.

Economy 经济

The economy affects insurers in two primary ways:

  • Inflation – Inflation has a major effect on the profitability of an insurer. As inflation increases so does the cost of claims and business expenses. For example, the cost of roofing material increases with rising inflation causing the insurer to pay more for roof-related claims. Inflation causes a major issue for insurers because as inflation increases, the rates insurers charge become inadequate.
    通货膨胀 - 通货膨胀对保险公司的盈利能力有重大影响。随着通货膨胀率的上升,索赔成本和业务费用也会增加。例如,屋顶材料的成本随着通胀率的上升而增加,导致保险公司需要为与屋顶相关的索赔支付更多的费用。通货膨胀给保险公司带来了一个大问题,因为随着通货膨胀的加剧,保险公司收取的费率变得不足。
  • Investing – Investments also have a major effect on the profitability of an insurer. Insurers invest large sums of money; if the economy performs poorly, the insurer will lose investment income.
    投资 - 投资对保险公司的盈利能力也有重大影响。保险公司投资大笔资金,如果经济表现不佳,保险公司就会损失投资收入。

Regulations 条例

The insurance industry has stricter regulations than most other industries. State insurance regulators require insurers to meet certain capital standards, meet minimum surplus requirements, restrict insurers from overcharging, and limit the insurer’s ability to undercut prices.

Technology 技术

As technology continues to improve it affects the insurance industry, most importantly it improves the ease of conducting business for the insurer and improves the ease of buying insurance for the consumer.

The Underwriting Cycle 核保周期

The underwriting cycle is the level of competition and pricing in the insurance market. The insurance market goes through hard cycles and soft cycles.

These cycles cause the insurer to continually adjust their rates to maintain competitiveness and profitability as the cycle shifts.

  • Hard cycles – A hard cycle is a time period of less competition. During this time, insurers can increase the price of insurance and generate more profit because there is less competition and less reason to price competitively. This period benefits the insurer.
    硬周期 - 硬周期是指竞争较少的时期。在此期间,保险公司可以提高保险价格,获得更多利润,因为竞争较少,价格竞争的理由较少。这一时期对保险公司有利。
  • Soft cycles – A soft cycle is a time period of increased competition. During this time, insurers must decrease prices to remain competitive. Profits decline because insurers are charging less and less to remain competitive. This period benefits the insured.
    软周期 - 软周期是指竞争加剧的一段时间。在此期间,保险公司必须降低价格以保持竞争力。由于保险公司为了保持竞争力,收费越来越低,因此利润下降。这一时期对投保人有利。