The biggest innovations in insurance over the next three years will not be the technology tools themselves, but in how we design them with employees, customers, intermediaries and other human partners in mind. The Accenture Insurance Technology Vision 2017 highlights five trends that underscore the importance of focusing on ‘Technology for People’ to achieve digital success.

AI is the New UI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is about to become an insurer’s digital ambassador to its customers, agents, employees and business partners. Moving beyond merely serving as a back-end tool for the digital insurer, AI is taking on more sophisticated roles within technology interfaces.  For AI to be successful, it needs to be human-like. An excellent example is GEICO’s virtual assistant, Kate. It understands natural language and can answer basic questions like, “When is my next payment due?” Over time, assistants like Kate will become even more sophisticated.

Ecosystem Power Plays

Insurers are starting to integrate their core business functions with third parties and their platforms. But rather than treating them like partnerships of old, forward-thinking leaders are leveraging these relationships to build their role in new digital ecosystems—instrumental to unlocking their next waves of strategic growth. Companies are choosing their partners now to prepare for future growth. Accenture predicts that in five years, 80 percent of the S&P 500 will be engaged in multiple industry ecosystems.

Workforce Marketplace

Just as siloes between companies and industries are breaking down, internal workflow siloes are being replaced by a more fluid workforce of the future that blends internal and external talent. Sixty-two percent of insurers indicated they plan to increase their organization’s use of independent freelance workers over the next year. On-demand labor platforms like Freelancer, Upwork, and Gigster provide a pool of virtual specialists—100 of the Fortune 500 are already using Upwork.

Design for Humans

Increasingly sophisticated technology is adapting to individual human behavior. Insurers are delivering more personalized “living services” that align with personal and workplace behaviors and goals. For example, “pay as your drive” and “pay how you drive” vehicle insurance models offer premiums based on a driver’s behavior, rewarding safe and efficient drivers with lower or per-use premiums. Eighty percent of insurers agreed that organizations that tap into what motivates human behavior, and design the customer experience accordingly, will be the next industry leaders.

The Uncharted

Sixty-one percent of insurers said the regulatory environment for their industry or business is outdated. We’re moving into uncharted territory, where innovative and forward-thinking insurers and their ecosystem partners will lead the way, helping to share the new rules of the game.

Smart contracts delivered and managed through blockchains offer solutions to historical governance challenges. Accenture predicts that within five years, new performance-based contracts—taking the form of ‘if/then/else’ between two or more parties—will exclusively be smart contracts that self-govern and self-execute.

For more information, read the full report.

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