Insurers of the future should harness the skills of their CFOs

CFOs are taking on more diverse responsibilities than ever before. In fact, a new report by Accenture heralds CFOs as being at the helm of digital change. This is particularly relevant for executives within insurance.

Insurance is one of the world’s oldest, most data rich industries. It is also an industry where finance, data and innovation naturally intersect. This provides a multitude of opportunities for CFOs to apply their existing skill set to new, fascinating challenges.

In our latest research on the critical role of the finance function, we found that when CFOs are positioned at the center of an organization alongside the CEO, the finance department becomes an engine that powers the entire enterprise.

How is the role of the CFO changing?

While CFOs have historically been responsible for assessing a company’s financial performance and managing its technology costs, the boundaries between finance and technology are becoming increasingly blurred. In today’s innovative insurance businesses, a CFO is as fluent in technology as in figures.

Why change?

New entrants into the insurance market, including insurtechs and other “digital native” competitors, are using disruptive technology to glean deeper insights and greater value from data. As a result, established insurance firms are responding to the challenge to reimagine and evolve their business models. Our survey, “The CFO Reimagined: from driving value to building the digital enterprise”, reveals that CFOs are operating in an increasingly fast-paced environment in which their actions have a broader, more far-reaching impact.

New responsibilities

Today’s CFOs are beginning to take on responsibilities such as:
• Looking beyond the borders of the finance function to propose business models throughout the enterprise.
• Leading investigations on digital investment and how technical innovations can prepare the business for the future.
• Making use of business and customer data to generate insights and analysis.

This means that CFOs are now playing a proactive role in creating additional revenue streams, and are using their expertise and knowledge of data in the business to advise the CEO. In many ways, the CFO brings the business functions together by sharing data insights across the business and spearheading the digitization of all departments. This tech-driven, holistic approach has the potential to improve compliance and increase the value of the business.

Overall, CFOs have the expertise to change the face of insurance as we know it. However, this transition does not come without its challenges. CFOs will need to champion and engage with new technologies in a traditionally stable and change resistant industry. If they succeed, the benefits will be enormous.

In the next article in this series, I will discuss how insurance CFOs are well-equipped to lead tech insight. Until then, download the report to view the insights, or contact me to discuss the remodeling of the CFO function in your business.

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