Insurance organizations are spinning out their digital ventures as new companies to give them the liberty to pursue disruptive business models free of legacy technology and processes. Use of a non-traditional, flexible, on-demand workforce is helping to make this possible.

New digital business models, many of them platform-based, built in collaboration with new ecosystems of partners or launched out of innovation hubs and incubators, require new skills that are able maximize the opportunity that rapidly changing business and engagement strategies offer.

The kinds of skills required? The talent driving these initiatives needs to be flexible, agile, tech-savvy, creative, analytic, customer-centric and entrepreneurial. But companies also require different employee models to make these businesses fly.

Labor platforms are enabling workers to become more liquid, supporting distributed teams that are quickly assembled to complete projects and then dispersed. With this flexibility, companies are moving toward models where they run their organization less like a hierarchy of static business processes, and more like an open talent marketplace. Businesses gain the power to quickly look internally or to the external labor market to meet demand for skills. These talent marketplaces are not only more efficient, but also enable companies to change rapidly and innovate in ways that weren’t possible before.

Leading digital insurance innovators

Key examples of digital ventures are found in areas where new technology extends reach into industry sectors. Telematics is a prime example. It’s central to the partnership between German insurance carrier Allianz and BMW, where Allianz has tailored its usage-based insurance offering, enabled by telematics, to align with BMW’s customer promise of high-end performance.

In Asia Pacific, there is also a surge in insurtech venture capital investment from leading insurers.

  • Australian insurer IAG has set up an insurtech hub in Singapore with the support of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The hub will act as an incubator for IAG to work with Asian-based start-ups and research and technology providers to create customer-centric products and services.
  • In Asia, AXA has created AXA Lab Asia, a digital innovation sourcing unit looking to form partnerships, as well as AXA Strategic Ventures, a €200 million venture capital fund looking to invest in strategic innovations in the insurance, asset management, financial technology and healthcare service industries.
    A recent partnership illustrates its success: AXA, Alibaba and Ant Financial Services have agreed to engage in a global strategic partnership to jointly explore opportunities to distribute AXA’s insurance products and services through Alibaba’s global ecommerce ecosystem, benefitting the businesses and consumers that transact via Alibaba’s marketplaces, and accelerating AXA’s development in China.

In fact, AXA Group, a company recognized for its innovation, has called out its workforce strategy as a key part of its most recent strategic five-year plan. According to the company, it aims to accelerate the transformation of its business model based on initiatives that meet rapidly evolving customer expectations in the digital world, moving to a partner model and adapting its workforce capabilities in order to succeed.

Since the start of 2016, CB Insights notes some key seed venture capital investments by (re)insurers were investment in:

  • Wireless home monitoring system Notion by XL Innovate, Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures
  • Human stress relief platform BioBeats by AXA Strategic Ventures
  • Parking space tracker AppyParking by Aviva Ventures
  • Insurance marketplace Bunker by Hiscox and American Family Ventures

What does the future hold?

Responding to Accenture’s Technology Vision 2017 survey, 75 percentof insurance executives said that they believe leading organizations will seamlessly blend their internal and external workforces into a borderless enterprise within five years.

What does Accenture’s Technology Vision 2017 predict?

  • Within five years, all industries will have new, dominant leaders with business structures based on small cores and powerful ecosystems. Incumbent corporations still carrying the burden of legacy bureaucratic models will experience rapid deterioration of market power.
  • By 2022, the traditional purpose of industrial era corporations and management models will be replaced, having been displaced by digitally connected marketplaces.

For more on Accenture’s Technology Vision 2017 trends, read Accenture’s Technology Vision 2017, and our take on the impact on of these trends on the Insurance sector.


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