To compete in this environment, incumbents should consider building their own digital businesses. Doing so can be challenging, however, as digital ventures operate differently from traditional insurance companies. For instance, incumbents must leave behind legacy IT models and pivot their focus from investing in sales and marketing teams to investing in digital channels to support acquisition, perhaps even alienating their sales force. Despite these challenges, various traditional global insurers have already built and scaled new digital businesses. A 2020 McKinsey analysis of the top 20 European insurers by measure of gross written premiums (GWPs) showed that the share of insurers with a digital business increased from 1 percent to 70 percent in just five years; the same analysis for the United States showed 20 percent of insurers have a digital business, up from zero.
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