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Start-ups could help insurers to improve their relationships with their customers and offer more personalised products and services to them, according to a report.

Only 27 per cent of consumers surveyed by PwC and Startupbootcamp InsurTech said they trusted their insurance providers, and less than half would ask them for advice.

But 35 per cent of more than 1,300 start-ups surveyed prioritised improving customer experience, and the report suggested this expertise could be put to good use to help insurers.

In return, start-ups would benefit from insurers’ vast industry knowledge and insights. 75 per cent of 79 senior executives at insurance firms said they felt the largest impact on their industry would come from creating services and products that developed and were adapted to the ever-changing requirements of customers.

According to the survey, many of the tech start-ups that are entering the insurance market are not disrupters but are in fact enablers.

This means they are more likely aiding already-established companies in improving their own services, rather than proving to be serious competition.

PWC said insurance technology start-ups and insurers should “take advantage of each other’s diverse range of talents” and “break down the disconnect in priorities and approaches”.

“By focusing on what insurers consider to be the main challenge for the insurance industry – providing customers with the most suitable product – insurtech start-ups can work alongside incumbents to effect swifter change,” it said.

Jonathan Howe, UK insurance leader at PwC, said: “If insurtech start-ups and incumbent companies can successfully work together to build new and relevant insurance products while cutting their operating costs and passing some of these savings on to the customer, it is not just an opportunity to increase profitability, it is a real chance for insurers to build and retain trusted relationships with customers.”

Startupbootcamp InsurTech managing director Sabine VanderLinden said: “The insurance industry is slowly waking up to the inevitability of change around it and start-ups are looking to facilitate, rather than hinder, change. The key will be working together.”

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