Insurance executives surveyed by international insurance trade association LOMA for its 2016 Life Insurance Industry Forecast expect modest growth due to continued concerns about interest rates and the state of the economy.

Fourteen senior executives from life insurers and consulting firms took part in the forecast, giving their views on sales expectations, technology, customer service, human capital and other issues.

Most executives agreed:

  • Technology will continue to have a profound impact and digitisation may change how products are developed. Predictive analytics, automated underwriting and smartphones were all mentioned as important.
  • However, the forecast said emerging technologies, such as wearables and gamification are also being looked at by the industry and may result in dramatic change.
  • Quality service will be a key factor in retaining customers. The LOMA forecast said power has shifted from companies to consumers. Consumer expectations are increasingly based on experiences with other companies that use leading-edge technology.
  • Human capital is a big concern. Millennials coming into the industry are looking for the opportunity to work for the greater good and make a difference.
  • Some say that companies that have a strong digital strategy stand the best chance of recruiting the best talent.

Neil Sprackling, president Swiss Re Life & Health America, said: "The life insurance industry is in transitional recovery mode. We’re still suffering from the hangover of the financial crisis and what now looks to be long-term low interest rates.

He added: "So, do I predict rocketing sales and significantly higher profits in 2016? No, however, my optimistic nature tells me that we’ve turned a corner."