The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health emergency on a scale not seen in generations. Already it has disrupted the global economy and thrown the future of billions into doubt.

The crisis is hitting the insurance industry more universally and faster than previous pandemics and economic shocks. Operational costs are rising due to crisis management, while premiums shrink in many lines of business. New business in motor insurance, for example, is declining as people drive less due to social distancing.

Investment returns are also under pressure due to volatility in financial markets.

In a month, the average insurer has lost:


of its market capitalization


in Europe and North America

Market capitalization impact from COVID-19

Source: Accenture Research based on analysis of global publicly listed insurers and MSCI ACWI Index (mature and emerging markets; last date item as of March 20, 2020) and Capital IQ data.

Stabilizing remote work

While these crisis conditions are not permanent, and insurers have navigated previous crises with resilience and ingenuity, we are already seeing a robust industry response. Insurers are enabling their organizations for remote work with digital technologies and a strategic communications plan to maintain business continuity and protect the health of their employees and partners.

What to do now

As insurers continue forward progress over the next three to six months, they will want to take a close look at:

Digital employee and customer journeys

  • Mobilize the internal HR COVID-19 query response to support physical and mental wellness
  • Refocus workforce and processes on customer value management, agility, and workforce automation/optimization with a Human + Machine mindset
  • Grow the role and the trust of insurers with employees and customers
  • Strengthen digital communications with customers
  • Digitize claims eligibility and processing

Digitally enabled go-to-market models

  • Stand-up digitally enabled go-to-market models leveraging new market receptivity

Cost reductions to focus on recovery and the “new normal”

  • Analyze, prioritize and adjust internal and third-party spend

Cloud-based workforce analytics

  • Use low-cost, high-power analytics to optimize and innovate

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What to do next

As insurers overcome the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and take their places in the post-digital world, they may see further opportunities:

Transform the cost curve

  • Combine zero-based design methodologies with agile delivery frameworks
  • Optimize existing operations and modernize technology
  • Modernize incrementally aligning business and technology

Scenario-based growth

  • Determine the future strategy of how products are written and sold
  • Accelerate restructuring of risk and new products
  • Strengthen resilience of the value chain and ecosystem partners
  • Expand infrastructure
  • Enable end-to-end security
  • Stress test operations, processes, and technologies

Rearchitect the workforce

  • Conduct rapid training for employees and double-down on AI in a Human + Machine approach
  • Optimize digital journey opportunities for sales and service
  • Deliver personalized, omni-channel customer experiences
  • Adopt digital products and add-on services
  • Establish system monitoring for abnormal activity
  • Build a remote workforce culture that embraces data-driven insights
  • Enhance business continuity plans

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Ultimately, the insurance sector can serve as an important source of strength during the crisis and as a recovery mechanism for industry. If your team is looking for help in navigating these business capabilities, please reach out to our team.

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