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Delivering Digital

Insurance Industry Preps for Post-Digital World

Traditional insurers are in a race to deploy tech that supports unique customer experiences

Emerging technology in the insurance industry has traditional insurance companies preparing for their eventual post-digital reality. A reality where basic digital capabilities aren’t a differentiator but expected. Consider a new survey from Accenture: insurers are readying themselves to move beyond offering personalized product segments to providing highly-individualized experiences. The question is who will move quickly enough to establish post-digital dominance.

The Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2019 report, based on responses from 577 executives in the insurance industry, found 96 percent report that emerging technologies have accelerated the pace of innovation has accelerated over the past three years. At the same time, many employees eager to speed the process further find themselves stalled in a state of “hurry up and wait.” The study shows 76 percent of insurers admit their employees are more digitally mature than their organization, resulting in a workforce that’s waiting for the organization to catch up.

Meanwhile, disruptive forces continue to buffet the ramparts at traditional insurance organizations. As Deloitte explained earlier this year in a report, insurance technology upstarts are “fundamentally altering the rules of the game and spurring the creation of a new ecosystem driving innovation.”

Today’s venture capital news offers a workaday example. The digital insurance company Embroker landed $28 million in funding to support its foray into the automation and digitization of underwriting. That’s just one example, and a modest sampling of capital being invested in the insurance technology market. According to FinTechGlobal, the amount invested in the market almost doubled last year to $3.17 billion. Those investments are being made in hopes of reaping considerable rewards—analysis from Juniper Research shows insurance premiums generated by insurance tech could reach $406 billion by 2023.

That’s just the start of insurance industry disruption. Larger societal and economic trends like the rise in the gig and sharing economies are changing the dynamics of who buys insurance and why Deloitte explained. For example, remote workers and self-employed are using personal property for commercial purposes, and the boundaries between lines of business, coverages, and industries are continually being blurred.

Additionally, Accenture pointed out in its report that digital disruption in other industries is changing consumer perceptions of the entire insurance industry.

All of these factors add up to a high bar when it comes to customer expectations for their insurance providers.

“To meet these expectations, insurance organizations will need to understand the people, assets and businesses they insure at a holistic level and recognize that their outlooks and needs change at a moment’s notice,” the Accenture report explains.

The company’s experts say that insurance companies must keep developing “intensely customized and on-demand experiences” if they’re going to stay adaptable enough to take advantage of the fast-changing opportunities posed for the industry in the coming years.

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