Insurers have built their businesses on understanding and rating risk, and have done so by focusing on products that address the risks evident in the market. However, the very nature of risk is evolving—and effectively adapting to the evolution requires a new way of thinking. First, we recommend that insurers focus on customers, rather than products. Underpinning that customer-centricity is agility, a capability that enables insurers to adapt to changes today, and those in the future.

For examples of the changing nature of risk, consider:

  • The recent announcement of a leading ride-sharing company that it will align with a number of established insurers to address gaps in coverage—effectively shifting the focus from car ownership to a new unit of risk based on usage and role.
  • Consumption- or experienced-based coverage, such as Die Bayerische’s offering of one-day Oktoberfest insurance in Germany.
  • The Internet of Things, such as driverless cars and connected homes, is shifting the risk from drivers and homeowners to product manufacturers.
  • New types of products are emerging, such as those that cover cyber and security risk. Niche products, such as drone insurance, may also become more common.

For claims leaders, the question is how to respond to these and other new types of risk in an effective, scalable way. Are they equipped to handle emerging risks alongside traditional risks? Can they provide an omnichannel experience with exceptional customer service?

More important, claims leaders must not simply react to the changing nature of risk—they must adopt a proactive role in new product development. Engaging the underwriting and policy functions is critical to ensuring that the insurer as a whole functions optimally, and that the claims function in particular is equipped to deal with all types of claims in an effective manner. In doing so, claims leaders can help drive value across the enterprise.

Finally, consider that 92 percent of insurance customers expect their insurers to help them manage risk, and that customers who have filed a claim are twice as likely to switch providers as those who haven’t. At Accenture, we see a growing trend in insurers offering loss prevention as a product—and who better than the claims function to guide that conversation?

Opportunities, not challenges

In this series, I’ve highlighted four trends affecting the claims function: changing customer expectations, technology and data advances, the changing face of the claims workforce, and emerging and evolving risks.

While each of these presents its own challenges, they also bring tremendous opportunities for insurers to embed agility throughout the enterprise, and particularly within the claims function. Claims agility is the key to the adaptability and flexibility that is required to succeed today—and in the future.

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