A study by Accenture, the business management and technology services company, has shown that more and more consumers are first going online to check offers and deal from a bank or an insurance company before connecting with a bank or insurance agent offline. The banking and insurance organisations are seeing that digital media is fast becoming their point of contact with present and prospective customers.

“Digital technologies have changed the way consumers go about shopping for and purchasing insurance products and services. More and more insurers are finding that their relationship with customers begins online. Digital channels are becoming the first source in determining which insurance products and services to buy,” says Carlos Lugo, Partner, Accenture Financial Services in his research paper ‘Reigniting Business Growth in Insurance through Relevant Digital Consumer Interactions’.

While the relevance of offline agents have not diminished but today more and more consumers are first going online to search for, learn about and get advice on products, services and providers. A study of the US market by Accenture showed that 72 percent of consumers use the Internet to learn about auto insurance, and A small but rapidly growing critical mass of U.S. consumers now purchase their auto insurance policies online, driving a record 2.8 million online policies in 2009.

Furthermore, Accenture research showed that 67 percent of consumers who are planning to purchase insurance “in the next 12 months” intend to renew or buy insurance through agents, with 43 percent intending to buy online.

Keeping in mind this research and the need of banks to move faster in the online space, Accenture has now launched two new software products — Accenture Multichannel Platform and Accenture Product and Fee Factory. These two new solutions will help banks to quickly and efficiently integrate customer channels, such as mobile, branch and online banking, and streamline product development and pricing.

“These new applications are a result of our increasing focus on delivering modular software for banks. They were developed based upon our decades of insight to high performing bank operations and our track record of designing, building and implementing successful core IT infrastructure for hundreds of banks globally. Alongside our award-winning Alnova core banking solution, these products are part of a growing software suite designed to help banks modernize and redesign their operations to meet changing market demands,” says Paolo Maresca, head of Accenture Software for Banking.

Developed by Accenture Software, the new products are designed to help banks increase revenues, improve commercial offerings and reduce distribution costs by strengthening customer channels and product management. The Accenture Multichannel Platform will enable banks to rapidly integrate their customer channels at a lower cost for IT development and infrastructure. It is designed to help banks meet growing customer demand for well-integrated banking services that are accessible online and via mobile devices, as well as through branches, call centres and ATMs. While Accenture Product and Fee Factory offers banking product managers a central platform based on Java technology to more quickly and efficiently create, price and launch new products and create customized bundled offerings.