One of the major findings of the Accenture Digital Innovation research was that insurers plan to radically expand their capabilities in this space through a number of means, including acquiring digital insurance startups.  Forty-three percent of respondents are planning or have completed the acquisition of start-ups or innovative competitors to better position themselves in the digital world. More than half (59 percent) of respondents said they thought their peers would also take that route over the next three years.

Seizing the opportunities of digital transformation
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Other acquisition targets included telematics companies, insurance price comparison websites and analytics firms.

Acquisitions are one way – but not the only way – to step up the pace of digital innovation. In addition to looking at acquisitions, insurers should be looking at other ways to accelerate innovation.  These include formalized ideation sessions, which may involve customers and/or employees at all levels.  Sometimes simply asking customers what they want can lead not only to new products but to new ways to deliver those products.  Many personal lines customers, for example, want more self-service options.  They don’t see the insurer providing these options as cutting back on service; rather, they see more convenience and flexibility for themselves.

Another classic innovation approach is to look outside the industry for new ideas.  The oft-cited example here is Amazon.com’s focus on a great customer experience, but many other companies in many other industries take innovative approaches to everything from product development to transaction processing.  Smart insurers learn from both competitors and non-competitors.

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