The last trend I’d like to talk about in this series about the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 is “The Uncharted: Invent New Industries, Set New Standards”. Over the course of my posts about the Tech Vision, I have spoken about how artificial intelligence, digital ecosystems and other trends are changing the world.

But for society to take full advantage of the new technology, we need to relook technology, standards, ethical norms, government mandates and even the social contract. Without appropriate rules, we will not be able to drive the success of the ecosystem economy. Risk management must be embedded into ecosystems if they are to win support from consumers, businesses and governments.

Insurers should take a leadership role as people, organizations and entire industries seek to understand, manage and reduce the risks of a range of disruptive trends from precision agriculture to factory robotics to the sharing and gig economies. When it comes to technologies such as self-driving vehicles, regulation and safety standards have yet to be set in concrete. 33 percent of insurers are planning to use blockchain in the next two years. 36 percent have it on their agenda.

33 percent of insurers are planning to use blockchain in the next two years. 36 percent have it on their agenda

This is an opportunity for insurers to engage in the transfer of new risks and to help spur adoption of an exciting technology that will profoundly change the world over the next decade. Insurers could help define civil and criminal liability between driver and manufacturer, according to the level of automation at the time of an accident.

Partnering with stakeholders

Today’s successful platform organizations are not only blazing a new trail in products and services, they are also setting the guideposts for it. Winning insurers will be those that step up and help define the rules and risk management practices of a new digital industry, in partnership with regulators, standards bodies, consumer protection organizations, open source communities, and other ecosystem stakeholders.

Those that take a lead will find a place at or near the center of their new ecosystem, while followers will land on the periphery. There is much work to be done, since regulators and governments are struggling to keep up with the pace of innovation. In some cases, a new industry’s products, services, or value chains will raise new ethical questions—and new risks to be managed.

Digital trust is core

Therefore, insurance leaders must consider digital trust (security, privacy, and digital ethics) as core to any digital industry strategy. They won’t just be implementing governance strategies through offline activities like boards and committees; they’ll be digitally replicating these approaches by embedding rules and standards within technologies themselves.

New technological solutions like blockchain and smart contracts that address the historically cumbersome challenges of governance, accountability, and digital trust are continuing to mature. With the relentless pace of change across industries, carriers must decide how to use them to help shape the new rules of engagement for the emerging digital ecosystem.

 New technological solutions like blockchain and smart contracts that address the historically cumbersome challenges of governance, accountability, and digital trust are continuing to mature

 

You can read the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 Full Report, Executive Summary and infographic for the highlights of our research.