“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”— Henry Ford
Insurers with an eye on the long game are becoming partners with customers, agents and employees, and with digital ecosystems of businesses beyond their walls. In Accenture’s Technology Vision for 2017, the majority of insurers acknowledge they’ll need to form strategic partnerships and join ecosystems to succeed as technology advances at an exponential rate.
Insurance executives know their organizations must innovate at an increasingly rapid pace to remain competitive. To do so, many insurers are looking to leverage partnerships to build their roles in new digital ecosystems.
Complex digital ecosystems that add value—convenience, for example—to customers’ lives requires insurers to increasingly integrate their core business functionalities with third parties and their platforms. Seventy-three percent of insurance executives say their organization is entering new digital industries that have yet to be defined. General Motors is aligning itself with ride-sharing startup Lyft to test autonomous electric vehicles. Allianz has bought a minority stake in, and concluded a distribution agreement with Berlin’s simplesurance, which has developed software that allows customers to easily buy product insurance at checkout. While 94 percent of insurers say adopting a platform-based business model and engaging in ecosystems with digital partners are critical to their success, only 33 percent of insurers are actually among those aggressively taking steps to participate in digital ecosystems.
Insurers are also partnering with their customers through value-added services delivered through artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. This requires getting to know your customers better to understand their objectives, and then designing tools to meet those objectives. One example is Local Tapiola’s Smart Life product, which combines financial coverage with fitness tracking and health coaching to help people lead healthier lives.
Success for insurers is increasingly tied to the success of partners. Insurers must balance tactical decision-making with strategic investing in the digital ecosystems that will provide long-term growth.
In the next article in this series, we’ll explore more about how insurers are helping customers reach goals with technology.