Insurance in the digital era: Accenture explains 5 trends

The combination of automation and information takes the insurance world into a new, smarter era. Industry is fully aware: 82% of insurance executives confirm that the digital revolution is leading to a new industrial era

Published on 10 Jan 2018

The digital revolution is boosting human capabilities: progress, increasingly pressing, contributes to creating a technological environment focused on people and driven by those who are able to shape technologies to achieve different goals. Accenture, in its Insurance Technology Vision 2017 survey, in partnership with the Technology Vision team carried out among insurance executives (to get their point of view) identified emerging technology trends holding the greatest potential to revolutionize companies, industries and individuals.

1) Artificial intelligence as a new user interface
Nearly 8 out of 10 (79%) insurance executives agree that Artificial Intelligence will revolutionize the way companies obtain customer information and interact with customers. 77% believe that AI is creating a new IT era, marking the transition from mobility-centered systems (mobile-first) to systems focused on the use of algorithms and machine learning tools (AI-first). Accenture mentions the case of photo management systems for damaged vehicles which, in the event of an accident, are managed in real time so as to allow experts to assess more quickly the possibility of a repair and, consequently, the immediate opening of the ticket which includes recovery and repair service. Other examples are virtual assistants equipped with a camera that, compared to a telephone call center, can provide more immediate contextual support. Artificial intelligence, in fact, can become the new user interface of any digital insurer. Simpler, but also smarter ways of interacting will bring greater value to relationship and business by short-circuiting information between insurers, customers and partners.

2) New cooperative ecosystems
The report highlights another significant aspect of the managerial maturity that caracterize the panel interviewed. Indeed, 94% of insurance executives agree that adopting platform-based business and engagement models to create new cooperative ecosystems involving several digital partners will be strategic for the industry as a whole. 76% are aware that competitive advantage cannot be based solely on internal resources within their own organization but also on the support of partners that will help to define new organizational models in terms of supply and service. Analysts mention the case of General Motors, which is no longer considered just an automotive player but a Transportation On Demand Company that has invested 500 million dollars in Lyft of an EDS (Express Drive Service) platform aimed at building a new transport ecosystem capable of connecting and managing ride-sharing services and driverless vehicles.
Alibaba and Ant Financial Services, on the other hand, joined AXA last year to distribute a series of insurance products and services through the Chinese e-commerce channel. The experts’ advice? The new digital collaborative approaches are deleting the old rules to create new ones. Having an interactive website is not enough: it is time to think through new economies of scale, creating new ecosystems in which sharing and cooperation will be the success key.

3) New labour markets
79% of insurance executives are aware that their workforce and organization must be highly innovative in order to face the very strong competition existing on the markets today. 82% of the panel confirms that the digital revolution is leading to a new industrial era, characterized by a different economic structure than the one known until now. As Accenture’s consultants point out, inventing future is not easy, but it’s a great opportunity to rebuild business making it better and more profitable than now. The solutions for managing online services and work on demand will be real market places that insurance companies will soon have to deal with. Among the examples mentioned there is the case of State Farm, an American insurance and financial giant that wanted to test the use of cameras installed on the dashboards of vehicles to detect the distraction rate of the driver and send appropriate automatic signals to the driver, found the solution through a crowdsourcing transaction started via Kaggle data science platform.

4) Designing products and solutions for people
The pressing digital evolution must not make us forget one fundamental, namely that technological designs are people who have to design for people. Today’s technologies are adaptive: they are learning to read and interpret our behaviors to improve our lives. 82% of insurers are unanimous in saying that today it is not only important to understand where people are today but also where they would like to be. More than one third (35%) of insurance executives surveyed over the next three years plan to use behavioural systems to improve their customers’ experience and relationships. Accenture cites the case of Digitteria, Insurtech, which with its Quantifyle app allows people to share exercise, diet and health data via their wearable devices, exchanging this information with insurance companies in exchange for incentives and premiums built on each customer’s lifestyle.

5) The allure of the undiscovered
As Accenture analysts confirm, in order to be successful in the digital economy, companies must be able to seize opportunities, learning to establish rules and standards that will lay the basis for totally new industries. 33% of insurance companies surveyed said to have planned to use the blockchain in the next two years, while another 36% placed it among the key points to be discussed on the agenda. 73% of the sample agree that their companies are entering a new digital industrial age that needs to be designed from the outset. Accenture takes as example the case of Verisk Insurance Solutions, which introduced a connection system, called Verisk Telematics, that allows the exchange of data between insurers and insured who drive connected cars. The aim is to define a database of information useful to create standards with respect to the levels of use of drivers in order to design compliant policies.

“The reference model we propose to the insurance sector is the Living Service model – said Daniele Presutti, Senior Managing Director Financial Services, Insurance Practice, EALA, Accenture -. This is how it will be possible to make insurance more proactive and closer to customers, making the most of all the new digital technologies. making the most from all new digital technologies. The more the company is digitalized, the more the business is. New models enabled by digital development allow the need to be shifted upstream in the value chain. Companies’ business plans focus on simplification, cost reduction, new, more modular products, more digital services with an eye to the regulatory framework with the entry into force, for example, of the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). To capture the customer’s attention it is important to understand how it is necessary today to be hypercontextualized and hyperrelevant. Through the combination of digital technologies and the integration of external partners, it will really be possible to transform traditional passive insurance products into active services capable of reconfiguring themselves, learning according to our context and behaviour to offer us more relevant services in our daily lives. This is a world where you have to be fast, smart with data and be excellent in the integration between the online and offline worlds.

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