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'Digital transformation needs insurers to put people first'

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

The next wave of digital technologies will transform insurance companies and this will take place by transforming workforces and cultures to operate in a digital world, a report said.

The next wave of technology - Internet of Things (IoT), platform-based ecosystems and artificial intelligence - is maturing and expected to ultimately transform the very nature of the insurance organisation and what it does, according to the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2016 report.

In fact, it said 90 per cent of the insurers surveyed said they expect the pace of technology change to increase rapidly or at an unprecedented rate over the next three years.

In addition, more than four-fifths (83 per cent) of insurers see IoT bringing about significant change or complete transformation in the industry.

The insurance industry report is based on the sample of 445 respondents from insurance companies across the world, including in India. Respondents were mostly C-level executives and directors, with some functional and line-of-business leads, at companies with annual revenues of at least USD 500 million, with the majority of companies having annual revenues greater than USD 6 billion.

The report states that the digital trends identified - intelligent automation, liquid workforce, platform economy, predictable disruption and digital trust - offer insurers an opportunity to shift from their traditional business model to one where they can automatically assess and price risk directly, individually and in real-time, as well as help customers avoid losses in the first place.

However, taking full advantage of these trends will require insurers to dramatically transform their workforce and culture.

"The emergence of digital technologies and adoption of platform partnerships is causing a shift in the insurance workforce," Accenture's global Insurance practice Senior Managing Director John Cusano said.

He said digital insurers are hiring employees that are more tech savvy, creative and analytical, and they are now competing for top scientific, engineering, technology and mathematics talent.

Insurers are also increasingly introducing intelligent automation that can consume and analyse vast amounts of data and perform complex processes to complement this new workforce, he said.

"Companies need to be forward-thinking about evolving their culture to embrace all of these changes," he pointed out.

To take advantage of these technologies and harness these changes for maximum benefit, the insurance executives will need to transform their workforces and cultures by putting people first, the report states.

First Published: Wed, April 27 2016. 18:49 IST