In brief

In brief

  • Accenture’s analysis of leading insurers around the world pinpoints where the return on investment lies in digital innovation.
  • Behind this research is Accenture’s proprietary digital innovation database, which captures public innovation announcements over the last 5 years.
  • While market conditions and optimal innovation strategies differ across regions of the world, distribution almost always comes out on top.

Digital flexibility to weather the frankenstorm

In the current climate, the factors shaping the insurance industry’s age of disruption—everchanging customer demands, all manner of new tools to harvest unprecedented amounts of data, and frequent natural disasters—make it difficult to find sure footing. Around the world, insurance companies are betting on digital innovation to keep operational costs down, improve customer engagement and reinvent their businesses. Digital retail’s speed and elegance has set the bar high and customers expect more. Of the 539 global insurance executives surveyed as part of Accenture's Technology Vision for Insurance 2020, 82 percent said that their organizations plan to invest at least 1% of the company's total revenue in new digital technologies.

Digital payback has become more urgent in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Fewer in-person channels mean insurers need to scale up their digital value investments. Companies need to be ready to create digital value if they intend to grow, but the question on everyone’s mind, where is the right place to invest for the best return on digital investment?

Digital value improves business performance

Furthermore, a prolonged economic downturn means insurers will need to leverage digital tools to reduce costs and improve efficiency. This is increasingly critical with competitors from outside the legacy insurance world and their new and competitive business models.

Digital innovation is at once an opportunity to drive down costs, extend the distribution reach and boost customer satisfaction and engagement.

Our report looks at where the ROI lies in digital value investment to help insurers prioritize opportunities for the new business landscape.

Seeking better digital experiences

Insurance companies know that digital innovation is important, particularly at a time when competition is intensifying, customers are looking for better digital experiences and new technologies and economic uncertainty are changing traditional business models.


of insurance executives surveyed said their organization has or is developing an enterprise transformation strategy


is the average stock price increase after innovation capability announcements

The factors combining to shake the industry

The insurance industry’s established and inflexible workflows are no longer the norm. In the current climate, insurers need an edge to help them stay ahead of the pack, and the edge is in the data. The basis for this research is Accenture's proprietary digital innovation database, which has captured the top 30 insurers’ public announcements of innovation over the past five years and arranged them by total premium volume across all major markets. Then, innovations were grouped into five categories, including organizational innovation DNA, internal processes and capabilities, products, distribution, and the customer experience.

To understand where insurance industry leaders spend their money, we counted and ranked each innovation announcement. The financial performance of the market was then compared to the innovation characteristics of insurance companies, allowing us to explore the correlation between digital value innovation and revenue.

Think like a disruptor and act like a startup

A well communicated innovation strategy and roadmap can have a strong observed effect on the market capitalization of an insurance company.

We found a strong correlation between innovation capacity announcements and share price increases. Among the top 10 innovators in our sample, we found that their stock prices tended to rise within 24 hours of a public announcement of an innovation capability or project.

Distribution is critical

Insurers need to adapt to the current landscape where non-traditional players come to market with distribution innovations that are more convenient.

Insurers need to set themselves apart

The need is most pronounced in North America, a highly consolidated market where the top 10 personal line insurers hold a market share of 70 percent

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Insurance companies that invest in the right innovations and then effectively communicate them to shareholders are often rewarded by rising share prices and digital value growth.

Digital value insurance gives established players ways to be more versatile and allows them to focus on what truly matters to their customers—to access data faster than ever before to settle claims more quickly. Read the full report to discover how smart spending on new digital capabilities can create digital value and help insurance companies carve out their own market position, rather than react to a market that has been created by others.

Kenneth Saldanha

Senior Managing Director – Global Insurance Lead

Jean-François Gasc

Managing Director – Insurance, Strategy Consulting, EALA


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