In brief

In brief

  • Amidst rapid, disruptive change in the insurance industry, some firms have honed their agility and mastered change–achieving significant results.
  • The Insurance Change Survey 2017 explores key attributes of change leaders and seven steps for mastering change in the new digital economy.

Our global Financial Services Change Survey 2017 found that a small group of insurers—we call them change leaders—are significantly better equipped than their peers to defend and transform their core business needs while also exploring new opportunities. In fact, they are already achieving results that are allowing them to accelerate away from the pack. Our survey looked at what they are doing differently to lead in the new digital economy.

Keeping pace with change leaders

Approximately 10 percent of the insurers surveyed are achieving much better results from their change investments, and report markedly better commercial performance as a result. Like in a long-distance bicycle race, as the race speeds up the disruption initiated by these front-running change leaders will eventually cause the chasing peloton to break up. Those insurers not able to adapt and keep pace will slip off the back and out of contention. But, what makes change leaders so much better?

Attributes of a change leader

Change leaders’ success appears to be due to four main factors. Together, these factors help them execute greater volumes of change at a faster pace and with stronger disciplines.

Well-defined digital strategy

They balance internal digitization and external channels and regard innovation and digital as the new core of their business.

Clear change vision

A clear strategic purpose shapes their change vision, which is reviewed and amended continually. Leadership is committed to the vision.

Sharp focus on the human factor

They understand the importance of culture and human dynamics in making transformational change happen–they put people at the heart of change.

Strong change capability

They are developing professional change capabilities and disciplines that allow them to execute change with greater pace and discipline.

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Big data and analytics, mobile, the Internet of Things and cloud rated as most important for change delivery

Ninety-six percent of change leaders in our survey said they have a cross-enterprise digital capability, compared to only 55 percent of other respondents. We asked change leaders how important digital technologies have been to the delivery of their change programs.

Change leaders are also more likely to run their change programs according to plan, with 67 percent saying their program was delivered on time and 48 percent saying they delivered on budget. In response, they achieved significant change benefits, notably better efficiency and cost control, new digital technologies and channels, risk and regulatory compliance and product and service innovation.

How can you become a change leader?

Whatever your strategy is for capitalizing on disruption and innovation, a professional change capability will be critical to your success. There are seven practical steps for mastering change you can take to thrive in the new digital economy:

Lead with vision

Ensure the organization has a clear understanding of the change that is required. Spend time with leaders at all levels, building their commitment to this vision.

Prioritize investments in "The New"

Prioritize investments that both benefit the core business and build the new business for the future. Re-prioritize continually and make sure there is sufficient funding for both goals.

Innovate and scale for value

Where there is no clear value or the innovation does not work in your new business model, stop quickly, learn from the experience, and shift your investment of time and money elsewhere.

Make change more human

Approach change management in a participative, frequent and human way. Put people at the heart of change and foster a creative environment that allows employees to acquire new digital skills.

Be open to change from outside

Consider what role you will play in the industry ecosystem–especially your contribution to the customer experience and meeting customer needs.

Build true agility

Agile change offers many benefits, especially speed to value and learning through iterative change. It offers carriers a competitive advantage and enables insurers to balance pace and stability.

Prioritize and develop your change capability

Change capabilities that are needed depend on a clear change vision and portfolio. Key operating model decisions can then be taken to develop and apply this capability.

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Will you thrive in "The New"?

The future of insurance is one of continuous, accelerating change–small, constant changes as well as large-scale transformations. Insurers need to make explicit choices about their future business models, form a clear vision of how to develop them, and then execute boldly and with discipline. Change leaders have shown the way forward. Read more about the findings from our survey and practical suggestions for next steps in your change journey in our report–register below.

"We are on a journey of accelerated transformation. As we go 'from payer to partner', we need to be more innovative, more agile, more focused on customer behaviors—and, of course, more efficient."

— Magali Marcel, Global Head of HR, Communication and Corporate Responsibility, AXA Technology Services

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