RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Businesses cannot look at innovation as an incremental effort; they must design the capabilities to make it an ongoing practice in the organization.
  • 76% of insurance executives say the stakes for innovation have never been higher.
  • Getting it ‘right’ will require new ways of innovating with ecosystem partners and third-party organizations.


Create an engine for continuous innovation

Insurance companies have had to set aside their reservations about being too experimental and changing too fast in order to innovate at the speed necessary to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Opportunities for which carriers expected to have years to prepare are quickly approaching and slow-growing pain-points are rapidly rising to the surface.

To turn the enterprise into an engine for transformation in these turbulent times, insurers must first assemble their unique innovation DNA. Similar to human DNA, which stacks chemical building blocks, a company’s innovation DNA is made up of three building blocks:

  • maturing digital technology that is more commoditized and accessible;
  • scientific advancements that push the boundaries of industries and inspire change; and
  • emerging DARQ (distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence, extended reality and quantum computing) technologies that are steadily growing in maturity.

Today, insurance leaders are weaving these technological building blocks together to set a course for their company’s future. While not every insurance business will have each of these three areas fully developed, it’s important that they remain open to each of them as they build their own innovation DNA.

For businesses, the path forward begins with a renewed focus on technology transformation as they find their unique combination of building blocks and develop their innovation DNA.

It all starts by understanding the innovative business solutions that each building block provides. Maturing digital technology is no longer just an advantage — it’s a requirement. Many companies are finding new value by putting a price tag on their capabilities while also making them more accessible to those within their ecosystem.

Allianz and Microsoft, for example, are working together not only to move Allianz’s global insurance platform Allianz Business System to the Azure cloud, but also to develop Insurance-as-a-Service offerings for other insurance carriers.

Meanwhile, advancements in science are helping companies expand beyond the digital world. From material sciences to genomic editing, companies are turning these disruptions into competitive advantages faster than ever before.

Reinsurers Swiss Re and Munich Re have studied changing climate patterns for decades, for example, with a view to developing innovative risk transfer solutions.

Finally, whereas many insurers took a conservative stance on DARQ technologies before the pandemic, the need to innovate at speed will compel some of them to embrace these technologies faster than originally planned.

Already, leading organizations like Ping An Insurance are finding new ways to inject DARQ technologies into mature markets. Ping An is using AI, blockchain, cloud, big data, and security to drive its 'finance + technology' and 'finance + ecosystem' strategies.

Scientific advances disrupt insurance

28%

of insurance executives rank climate change as society’s biggest challenge that scientific research and advanced technology can address.

58%

of insurers believe advancements in new technologies and scientific innovations are poised to disrupt their industry.

Insurers cannot look at innovation as an incremental effort; they must design the capabilities to make it an ongoing practice in the organization.

Seizing innovation opportunities

Innovation is evolving. Success in the future means constantly exploring what’s ahead, around and inside of the business. Insurance leaders will seize opportunities through each of today’s innovation building blocks and form their own unique innovation DNA. Those that do will thrive in the next wave of industry transformation.

Already, companies are seeing the benefits of powerful combinations of the different innovation building blocks. Leaders will align seemingly separate innovation strategies to radically differentiate themselves, leapfrog industry competitors, build a new generation of products and services, and even create new markets.

Emmanuel Viale

Managing Director – Accenture Technology Labs


Andrew Starrs

Group Technology Lead – Banking


Abizer Rangwala

Managing Director – Technology Strategy, Insurance

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