In my recent blogs about Accenture’s Q1 2015 quarterly Digital P&C Innovation Tracker, I have looked at how mobile tech and telematics are changing the way global insurers approach products and distribution. Today I’ll examine how digitalization is revolutionizing insurer operations from the inside out: through rethinking of their internal processes.

For many insurers, digitizing their processes is the first step in embracing the digital world. Regulation and reporting, underwriting, and claims assessment are all aspects of insurers’ businesses that have been digitized to accelerate internal innovation. And the process is ongoing, with digital leaders in the P&C field using digitalization in increasingly innovative ways. What I like about the following examples is that they embrace the effects of digitalization, making them part of an overall digital transformation of their businesses.

Some examples cited in the most recent Innovation Tracker include:

  • Zurich Insurance has deployed a MicroStrategy Mobile app that integrates Solvency II reporting and internal reports to support industry regulator reporting. The app allows controllers and management to analyze year-on-year trends in global claims data by time period, geography, and line of business using actuarial methodologies.
  • State Farm and USAA, respectively the first and tenth-largest U.S. insurers, have filed applications with the federal U.S. government seeking approval to test drones for research in evaluating property damage for future claims assessment and insurance uses including underwriting, catastrophe response, and roof inspection.
  • The U.S.’s Hamilton Re, the reinsurance unit of SAC Capital, is set to invest in big data and analytics to advance the science of underwriting. Through its recent partnership with Two Sigma, an investment hedge fund known for its cutting-edge trading technology, Hamilton Re will initially concentrate on high frequency lines which lend themselves better to data analytics.
  • AXA has launched the first edition of Start-In, a global innovation program aiming to accelerate internal innovation and foster “intrapreneurship” among its employees. Over a five-week period, employees from 153 of AXA’s global entities posted more than 350 ideas on how AXA can use big data and mobile insurance to help customers. The insurer is already planning a second edition for 2015 with new themes.
  • Allianz France, the country’s fourth-largest insurer, is set to install a “seed accelerator” program dedicated to big data and designed to detect potential partners and foster internal innovation. The insurer will invest in start-ups offering innovative services related to big data, such as the connected car, house, stadium and city; the “silver economy” (targeting the growing demographic of those older than 50 years); and the customer experience. During the nine-month period, selected start-ups will have access to digital experts and financial investors to support them in developing their projects. At the end of the program, some start-ups will be chosen to become strategic partners of Allianz France or another entity within the group.

As you can see, these digital innovators are going far beyond the simple application of digital technology to existing processes by using digitalization to uncover entirely new ways to deliver what consumers want – from the outside in.

Next week I will conclude my examination of the P&C Digital Innovation Tracker with a look at what leading insurers are doing with social media collaboration and open innovation.

Other papers on the topic that you might find useful:

Accenture 2013 Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey: Playing to Win

The Customer-centric Insurer in the Digital Era

Double the Profits: How High-Performance Insurers Can Create Business Value from Digital Transformation

Insurance Telematics: A Game-Changing Opportunity for the Industry

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