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The path to the ecosystem is essential

Insurers can no longer avoid ecosystems. Experts are convinced of this. A prerequisite for this is the consistent use of digital technologies.

Thinking in living situations

Consumer behaviour and customer expectations have changed considerably in recent years. Customers want digital, smart and fast processes and are increasingly interested in comprehensive service networks, i.e. digital ecosystems that are offered around living situations such as health, retirement, mobility, housing and travel.


Customers no longer specially think about arranging their insurance policies, but instead deal with the topic of insurance in specific situations, such as when having a baby, starting a career, buying a house or travelling. This is precisely where insurers need to be linked in with their products and services, and integrate themselves into the processes of the relevant ecosystem partners – according to an article by Markus Zimmermann for Versicherungsbote insurance magazine in May 2022. Zimmermann is head of strategy consulting for insurance companies of the corporate consulting firm Accenture.

The key to success: digital technologies

‘Insurers must integrate their offers logically into other processes in order to pick the customer up where they are currently – without waiting passively for them,’ recommends Accenture expert Zimmermann. Fast processes, agile working methods and direct interlinking of product, process and IT are the key to success. This works best with the consistent use of digital technologies.


Digital platforms and ecosystems are amongst the most successful business models in the world. By market capitalisation, five of the ten most valuable companies in the world are ecosystem players. Led by Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon, the platforms have a total market value of around eight trillion dollars (as of 30 June 2022).

Digital connection with partners and customers

The trend is undoubtedly towards ecosystems, including in the health sector. This is underlined by the founders of the Digital Insurance Agenda (DIA), one of the largest trade fairs for insurtechs in the insurance industry. A DIA study (June 2020) identifies four post-Covid-19 trends that are important for insurers. Amongst other things, the pandemic makes it clear: digital linking with partners and customers is more important than ever for insurers, according to the founders of DIA. Platforms that help customers develop healthier lifestyles will become even more relevant than they already are. Connected healthcare devices combined with healthcare platforms offer insurers the opportunity to develop completely new business models.


Patrick Wirth, Head of Group Mobility at the insurer Baloise, is also convinced that insurers cannot ignore ecosystems. ‘The development is here and every insurer has to respond to it. Those who don’t will lose customers and thus relevance.’ This is what Wirth said at a specialist event in early January 2022, according to Versicherungsmonitor online insurance magazine.

Platform operator or ecosystem participant

Insurers have a variety of ways to get involved in an ecosystem and consistently tailor their offerings to the needs and living situations of the customer. As an orchestrator, you can operate a digital platform yourself and open it up to third-party providers, or participate in it purely as a product and service provider. Of course, you can also follow both approaches at the same time.


There is also another interesting variant: embedded insurance, where the product of an insurer is seamlessly and almost invisibly integrated into another product. The insurance is not sold additionally, but is already integrated as part of the offer. Customers who bought a flight ticket from the airline Emirates during the coronavirus pandemic automatically purchased Covid-19 travel insurance. The foreign travel insurance was already included in the ticket and in the price. The insurer was not ‘visible’ during the purchase of the ticket.


In view of these options, insurers should first determine what their goals are and what their own role in the ecosystem is, and then develop an appropriate ecosystem strategy. Whatever the path, insurers have to create the technological and procedural prerequisites for ecosystems. After all, according to experts, a lack of IT capabilities is one of the biggest obstacles on the path to the ecosystem.

What requirements do insurers have to meet with regard to ecosystems?

The technical infrastructure and relevant data form the foundation for digital ecosystems. Insurers need a modern, flexible platform that enables digital end-to-end processing of all business processes. Internal processes should be largely automated and supported by machine learning and deep learning as well as intelligent speech and image recognition. In addition, the platform must be omnichannel-compatible. This means that insurers offer seamless customer communication via the platform across all contact channels and there is complete transparency regarding all processes and procedures at all times.


In order to ensure that external partners and customers are easily integrated into an ecosystem, insurers have to deal with the provision of suitable interfaces both internally and externally. APIs enable the insurer to give external participants access to their own platform or to connect themself to an ecosystem. Uniform access facilitates entry into an ecosystem and is a prerequisite for a large number of participants – and this is crucial for the success of an ecosystem.

Efficient data management

Data management and data analysis also play a key role in the context of ecosystems. Insurers already have extensive customer data at their disposal, and the exchange within an ecosystem generates even more data. Insurers can only fully exploit the ecosystem’s potential if this data is intelligently managed and analysed.


‘The use of data-driven insurance solutions to gain competitive advantages from the growing volumes of data is one of the key topics for the insurance industry,’ says Milenko Radic, member of the Management Board of msg insur:it. ‘Taking into account the strict EU data protection guidelines, it is important to develop models that allow insurers to be present at the relevant touchpoints in order to reach – and retain – the customer.’ Insurers are often unable to position themselves appropriately with their legacy systems, as the old systems do not offer the necessary conditions to reach the customer touchpoints.

Our solutions support the path to the ecosystem

As an industry-specific enabler with more than 40 years of experience, msg insur:it knows that building an ecosystem or participating in it is a complex undertaking. Aspects such as IT requirements, quality, regulations, security and data protection must be taken into account. As a leading provider of IT platforms and flexible cloud solutions for the insurance industry, we will advise and support you in the conceptualisation and implementation of your ecosystem strategy.


‘We place great emphasis on standardisation and normalisation, as this is the only way to achieve economies of scale and cost advantages. At the same time, our solutions can be flexibly adapted to your individual business model,’ says Milenko Radic.


Our modern, cross-divisional complete solution msg.Insurance Suite enables the end-to-end handling of all of the core processes of an insurer, rapid product development and flexible adaptation to new business models. The omnichannel-compatible solution portfolio is modular and consists of individual software components and services that can also be used as SaaS (software as a service).


With regard to your ecosystem strategy, you can opt for the entire msg.Insurance Suite. Alternatively, you can just use individual components or services and integrate them into your existing IT systems to enable you to participate in third-party ecosystems. msg.Insurance Suite uses artificial intelligence, conversational AI and predictive analytics. As an experienced partner and with our comprehensive range of services, we will advise and support you on your path to the ecosystem.