Innovation is a vital characteristic for insurers in the digital age. ‘Living’ businesses are able to adapt and innovate constantly—at speed and scale—to remain hyper-relevant. My IoT and ‘connected’ picks from the 2018 Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards provide insight into what it takes.

In a digital world, key aspects of insurance are changing, notably the nature of risk and the way people assess, mitigate and fund it. This dictates that insurers be relevant beyond insurance. To do so they need to become ‘living’ businesses—hyper-aware of changing customer needs, and able to adapt and innovate constantly. Three 2018 Efma-Accenture innovation entries piqued my interest.

Accenture’s  Insurance as a Living Business  report estimates that there is $375 billion in new insurance revenue up for grabs by innovation leaders to 2022. But not all carriers will be able to take advantage of these emerging opportunities. To do so, insurers must nurture customer-centricity, hyper-relevance, agility, vitality and innovativeness.

My IoT and ‘Connected’ insurance innovator picks from the Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards display many of these characteristics.

The crowd lends a hand

The Discovery Crowdsearch solution was developed as an answer to the high levels of crime in South Africa. Here, vehicle theft and hijackings are a major concern and existing solutions are increasingly ineffective—perpetrators can locate and disable traditionally hardwired tracking devices within minutes. To address this, the Crowdsearch solution uses a hidden wireless telematics sensor in the vehicle that creates a homing beacon. These beacons will be located by the smartphones of Discovery clients with the Discovery app, which has over 500 000 users as part of their short-term and other insurance offerings. The network relays the location of stolen vehicles to Discovery Insure’s vehicle recovery teams, allowing them to track vehicles in real time. The device also provides traditional driver behavior telematics—and did I mention that it’s more cost effective and easier to install than traditional hardwired telematics devices?

While Crowdsearch is still in the development phase, extensive testing shows positive results. This is the kind of advancement the market needs to drive broader adoption and increase value to stakeholders.

Multi-party claims collaboration

Standard Bank’s 4-Sure claims platform evolved in response to a growing customer need. It started life as a customer-centric tool that enabled the customers of the bank’s insurance arm to specify the time and place for claims fulfilment. Through Agile iteration, it has grown in functionality, developing into a solution that now optimises processes and stitches the whole claims ecosystem together, end-to-end, securely and effectively. It adds value to all participants.

4Sure Omni-channel Insurance Claim Ecosystem

Source: 4SURE infographic

How effective is it? It enabled same-day water heater replacement, down from 18 days; and claims finalisation in nine days rather than 42 days. It also drove the cost of these claims down by 21 percent. And, across six different loss classes, it has improved customer delivery time by more than 80 percent.

It’s the kind of ecosystem-wide solution that provides decided advantage, whether you own the platform or participate on it.

The customer-centric advantage

Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance’s Connected Safety Drive Support and Rescue System helped it win the 2018 Efma Global Innovator prize. It epitomises the kind of customer-centricity that leading companies in the insurance sector are embedding into their products.

Says TMNF: “The most critical moment for auto insurance customers is when they got involved in an auto accident. They have to call the police, call insurance companies, identify where they are, explain what happened, help the injured (or customers themselves might be injured), in a very short period, in a very stressful environment. The system helps them take care of business, even if they cannot call for help (i.e., are heavily injured or unconscious).” This functionality is a first in Japan.

How can insurance companies realise the vision of a ‘living’ business?

Join me next week as I look at the key areas of opportunity and the areas in which they need to excel to access these opportunities.

Meantime, there are many more innovation entries to the Awards that are well worth investigating. To access this information, register at efma.com (its free) and go explore the future of insurance.

For more on how innovation in insurance will drive revenues, click through to Accenture’s  Insurance as a Living Business report.

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