The insurance industry is vulnerable to disruption, but as the Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019 show, insurers are taking the opportunity to lead the next wave of innovation rather than fall victim to it.

The 2019 awards attracted nearly 400 entries, up from 320 in 2018, highlighting how traditional insurers and insurtechs are transforming the industry through hyper-relevant services, products and solutions. Organizations that are succeeding in their transformation efforts are becoming what we call Living Businesses: responsive, agile organizations that lead the market in sustainable growth.

But what sets these organizations apart from their peers? Our analysis of this year’s entries identified seven key trends:

1. Get to know me

Unlocking customer value and unique opportunities based on a deep understanding of customers.

2. My market

Creating on-demand experiences to capture opportunities as they arise.

3. Smart automation

Using artificial intelligence (AI) at scale to transform core operations and customer experiences.

4. Human + Worker

Applying AI to empower humans to provide services that are more human.

5. Beyond boundaries

Orchestrating ecosystem partners to provide end-to-end solutions for specific customer needs.

6. DARQ power

Leveraging distributed ledger technology to spark a step-change and reimagine insurance.

7. Insurtech partnerships

Partnering with tech innovators to build compelling new solutions and customer experiences.

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As customer expectations for insurance continue to shift, driven by their experiences with large tech companies, insurers’ ability to adapt and flex to make their business and its offerings more engaging and relevant is paramount.

This year’s Global Innovator, Zurich Insurance, is at the forefront with several innovations, including its “Make the Difference” program, which empowers employees to make Zurich a better place for colleagues and customers by focusing on simplification, innovation and trust, and a new commercial insurance platform powered by insurtech, CoverWallet, that enables businesses to buy and manage their policies online.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to transform insurance value propositions and service is accelerating. Nippon Life Insurance Company’s winning innovation, TASKALL, fuses face-to-face communication with AI to supplement and enhance the quality of sales activities and customer service. Additionally, PZU, winner of the Workforce Transformation category, has implemented more than 50 robots that perform 260,000 operations per month via its Robotics Process Automation Factory. We also saw innovations that leverage AI to improve the claims experience, underwriting and quotations.

Innovation—and the ability to innovate in a sustained manner and at scale—holds the key to future survival. The Awards confirm that insurers across the globe are continuously adapting to the evolving needs of their customers, and market conditions, with speed and at scale, to achieve total relevance. Their ability to create new strengths and build new markets before their old ones fade will ensure that they remain powerful competitors in future—no matter how digital change reshapes the landscape.

Watch highlights from the 2019 global awards

2019 Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards

The winners of 2019 Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards were announced at the annual awards ceremony, held in Amsterdam on June 24, 2019. See more.

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The Efma–Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards were launched in 2016 to recognize and promote innovation in the industry. Encouraging insurers to explore new ways of growing their business, the awards celebrate the best new ideas that are transforming our industry—and serve to spark further innovation. Showcasing the best examples of insurance technology innovations in multiple categories, the awards competition this year attracted 395 submissions from 287 institutions in 54 countries. The winners were selected through a combination of votes by a panel of judges comprising senior insurers from around the world, and online by Efma members and nonmembers from insurance institutions.

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