As industry barriers blur, claims leaders should consider how an ecosystem model can help them deliver better outcomes, help customers prevent risk and access new opportunities.

For a number of years, insurers have had to adjust to the idea that customers are no longer content to compare their experience against what other insurers offer—instead, customer expectations are set by digital giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA). Along with this blurring, insurers are finding that the traditional constraints between industries no longer apply.

To wit, insurers can no longer be content to position themselves as providers of risk coverage; they must also be risk coaches that help customers prevent or minimize risk in the first place. Similarly, insurers can no longer be content to operate within the confines of the traditional insurance industry; an ecosystem approach is critical for competitiveness.

76 percent of insurance executives agree their competitive advantage will not be determined by their organization alone, but by the strength of their partners and ecosystems

There’s still time to get in on ecosystem power plays…

The appeal of an ecosystem is multiple. It offers insurers the ability to expand offerings beyond its current pool of customers, to offer service that extends beyond the traditional value chain and to achieve a scale that is not possible otherwise. To date, many of the digital ecosystems are small, but successful ones will see a snowball effect. As their audience and capabilities expand and mature, they will generate new opportunities to reach a bigger audience and expand their capabilities.

75 percent of insurance executives agree that digital ecosystems are having a noticeable or transformative effect on the insurance sector

…but insurers may not need to be at the center of the ecosystem

Accenture recommends that insurers keep an open mind when considering an ecosystem play, whether that means commanding an ecosystem, plugging into an existing one or taking a backseat by offering white-label collaborations.

For example, start-up Trov offers on-demand insurance for electronics and personal items. Claims are settled via chatbot on its app, with the option to speak with a human agent if required. Already operating in Australia and the United Kingdom, Trov raised $45 million for its global expansion earlier this year. Notable investors include AXA, Suncorp and Munich Re, but as far as the customer is concerned, they deal with Trov and Trov alone.

94 percent of insurers say adopting a platform-based business model and engaging in ecosystems with digital partners are critical to their success 2

Ecosystem power plays: Action items

Few insurers will want to contemplate a future where they merely provide commoditized, white-label products to platform owners. Instead, insurers that leverage ecosystems to gain rapid access to pools of customers, offer better outcomes through more touchpoints and in general, improve the customer experience, can differentiate themselves and get ahead of the pack.

To learn more about Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 and the era of the intelligent insurer and our 100- and 365-day plans to help insurers develop a platform strategy. If you’d like to discuss how Accenture can help claims leaders tap into the emerging insurance ecosystem, please email me.

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