Accenture is in the forefront of innovation in InsurTech.

Over the past four or five years, FinTech’s driven innovative disruption deep into the banking and capital markets sectors. Energised by countless start-ups and by born-digital giants like Google, Apple, Baidu and Tencent, the global marketplace for financial services has been transformed. Disruptive entrants have swooped on high-volume retail services, shifting them online and/or onto mobile. And, in many areas, incumbent players have found themselves losing out, as customers turn to new solutions more in tune with their expectations.

Insurers have witnessed this disruption. And they’re alive to the impact InsurTech can have on profitability and customer relations in their own industry, as well as the opportunities it creates for unpredictable competition. Now, having lagged their counterparts in banking and capital markets in recent years, we’re seeing an upsurge of interest by insurers in what technologies like AI, automation, the Internet of Things and advanced analytics have to offer. More and more start-ups are targeting the industry, developing solutions geared to maintaining proactive relationships with an increasingly tech-savvy marketplace. Put bluntly, insurance has been ripe for change for some time and now InsurTech is the engine that’s making it happen.

It’s an incredible time to be working at the intersection of insurance and technology. And we’ve launched a dedicated InsurTech workstream within the Accenture FinTech Innovation Lab to capitalise on (and help drive forward) the unprecedented creativity we’ve seen over the past 12 months. With so much investment going into InsurTech and the general pivot to digital throughout the industry, we owe it to ourselves, our clients and our wider presence in the London Market to be at the forefront of InsurTech in the UK.

While our FinTech programme runs globally, its London arm is the first to have implemented InsurTech. As a result, we’re getting an incredible amount of interest in our activities from other geographies. We are also seeing many of the Lab’s 13 insurance partners (across Personal and Commercial lines) starting to run their own InsurTech and/or innovation-led initiatives. Our programme takes this one step further with a cross-market view that’s not restricted by an individual organisation’s strategic priorities.

Insurers want to be involved in what we’re doing because it provides them with a unique opportunity to get a deep, early look at the InsurTech offerings that are poised to hit the market. It’s also an ideal forum for collaboration with (and learning from) other insurers, and a great chance for brand positioning amongst some of the smartest start-ups around.

By end of November last year, we had down-selected from over 50 start-up applicants to a final cadre of five that will progress through the InsurTech workstream over the next five months, before one is picked as Accenture’s InsurTech startup of the year. We’ve see a really interesting spread of offerings, from social media, P2P, data analytics and chatbots to telematics, on-demand insurance and some broker disruptors.

Although the InsurTech workstream is still in its first year, we have an excellent range of start-ups, comparable to the competitive advantage potential we’re seeing in our Banking and Capital Markets streams. And the next three months look like they’ll be even more exciting. In the follow-on blogs, I’ll be feeding back on my experiences, thoughts and observations on InsurTech trends and developments, as well as reporting on the results of our programme as we progress.

Thanks for reading.

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