The need for digital transformation and innovation in Insurance products and services has been well documented across social media, the news and industry periodicals.
Over the last 24 months there has definitely been an increased acknowledgement and noticeable shift in the support for change. Examples that highlight this include London Matters, TOM, global Insurer based Innovation Accelerators, Technology Services firms bolstering their insurance practices, and the recent boom of InsurTech start-ups around the world.
The first step in the change journey is acknowledging that there are problems that need addressing in today's world, or better still opportunities if things were different.
However, identifying the problem and doing something about it are two very different things. Karl Flinders, Computer Weekly and Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) present some interesting statistics that illustrate just how seriously the Insurance market is taking digital transformation and driving greater innovation in the products and services in the market.
The introduction of new leadership with new ideas, innovations strategies and most importantly the investment in divisions and teams with the sole focus of building the Insurance market of tomorrow is very encouraging and suggests that the well needed change within the industry is on the horizon.
The key now is for the market to maintain this momentum and not to believe that simply investment and talking about innovation is the "silver bullet" to creating a culture of innovation that solves the problems of antiquated products and disengaged customers.
Leading from the top is a great step forward in the change journey, and funding will certainly help with the chances of making a difference.
The real challenge, in my eyes, lies within creating the culture, environment and new norms in behaviour to cultivate and reward innovation. New leadership and the increasing buzz about changing the fundamentals of Insurance is creating a great platform for innovation and digital transformation; but the onus is now on those within the market to really adopt a different perspective and drive these changes through... In an industry like Insurance (in particular commercial lines) where paper files, signed papers, elastic bands, face-to-face meeting, physical interaction, suits and tradition are still commonplace - this type of fundamental shift in culture may take more than strategies and investment.
That said, I am a believer that this can happen and I continue to work with my colleagues and the market to consider new ways to enable the changes needed to take the Insurance industry into the digital era.
With new players entering the insurance market using IT as a differentiator, traditionally conservative insurers need to change to remain relevant – and this competitive threat has not appeared suddenly. Back in 2014, in its Trends 2014: European digital insurance report, Forrester Research said companies in manufacturing, utilities and telecoms, as well as startups, could take business from traditional insurers. Insurers have reacted. PAC’s study of 200 senior business and IT executives at large insurance companies in Western Europe found that 84% now have formal innovation strategies with dedicated teams and budgets.