Most Insurers are striving to be digital. Most Insurers want to embrace all of the artificial intelligence, voice-based smart bots, with telematics, wearables and as many drones as they can cram into an innovative (sounding) business strategy.. but from their current position is this realistic?

The below article makes the point that what used to be referred to as a 'developing' country is now, with its emerging economy, being able to leapfrog the competition and move to a product set UK Insurers can only dream of. How could this happen?

My view would be that the reason Insurers find it so difficult to embrace innovation is two-fold. Firstly the very obvious reason of just how bogged down in legacy technology most Insurers find themselves. Perhaps this is due to sweating assets, lack of investment, too complex to move or too scared of change. However the second reason is much more key. In my experience UK Insurers spend far too much time looking at their current portfolio of products, their current business processes, and their current organisation structure, and with all of this baggage then try to evolve into something new. No wonder they find it so difficult! Therefore in an emerging market, free of legacy, history and constraint, it is much easier to develop something new, exciting and innovative.

As I see it, Insurers product sets are often so evolved and matured, to reverse engineer anything approaching an accurate definition can only take up valuable (and costly) time, let alone take that analysis and try to carve out an innovative digital product. So what's the use?

Also, in terms of organisation structure, as this has been shaped over a long time, with its functions and processes; developing something new is almost impossible as the tendency is always trying to fit into 'the old way' of doing things to prop up the tried and tested. Moreover, in execution these issues are often exasperated by one or more Business/Change/IT functions all pulling in different directions to protect their own patch, resulting in the project being sent off to the pile of 'too difficult' almost immediately. No wonder so many efforts end in failure!

In short, there are too many barriers around Insurers ability to take a step back and think clearly about 'What do customers actually want'... and take a clear, unclouded view on what they want to build. Once they have reached that stage, it's only then can they consider innovation in a credible way and start to build something new.

My advice is forget your legacy technology, process and structure, start from scratch, and focus on where you would like your business to be.