Considering all the conversations and articles about the disruptive impact of digital technologies, you might actually believe that the digital revolution in the insurance industry is already a done deal. After all, most insurance businesses are up to speed on the latest wrinkle in digital technology: their agents have iPads, and they’ve created mobile apps to help their customers submit claims.

But although digital disruption may seem like last week’s news—just about everything insurers do today is in some way digital, anyhow—just because an insurer “does” digital, this doesn’t make it a digital insurer. There are degrees of digitalization, a spectrum of adaptation ranging from simply digitizing existing processes to using digital technology in ways that anticipate the evolving needs of the consumer.

Of course, not every organization is on the right side of the spectrum just yet; most are in the process of “getting there.” Accenture’s recent Digital Innovation Survey reveals that 19 percent of insurers only want to improve their current digital performance, while 59 percent are still in the exploration stage of digitally enabled capabilities, products and customer segments. But while these insurers are penetrating the edges of the digital realm, launching initiatives to improve discrete functions or operations, the remaining 22 percent are “all in” – developing goals and strategies that stretch right across the value chain. These select few are what we call the Digital Transformers—cutting-edge companies that are looking to exploit digital’s potential to find entirely new opportunities for generating customer value.

Digital Transformers know they can’t afford to simply wait and see what direction the digital world will take. They know if they don’t embrace digital disruption, there are plenty of non-traditional competitors that will. Our research shows that 74 percent of large carriers expect online service providers like Google and Amazon to become significant insurance distributors in the next three years. And if you read the industry publications, you know that’s already happening.

Last week I asked if you were a Digital Transformer or a Digital Follower. This week’s blog topic begs the question: will you become a disruptor, or will you be disrupted? Learn more about what industry leaders are doing to digitally succeed by downloading the report and exploring the data with our interactive tool. You can also follow my video series on YouTube, which delves deeper into the survey’s findings, including debunking digitalization myths, developing effective digital growth strategies, and more.

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