Research from Accenture shows that while insurers are very much aware of the opportunities inherent in mobile technologies—particularly when it comes to customer-first insurance—they also face several challenges in realizing them.
This research, the Accenture Mobility Insights Report 2014, was commissioned by the Accenture Mobility Group. It was a global survey designed to explore how companies are applying digital technologies—especially mobile ones—to compete better. It was an online survey of 1,475 executives, with the majority of them playing a technology-related role within the C-suite. Amongst the group were insurance industry executives, and it is this data on which I’ll be concentrating.
It’s worth noting that the insurance sample is dominated by respondents from four countries: Canada (17 percent), the United Kingdom (15 percent), Spain (12 percent) and France (11 percent). It also has a greater proportion of respondents with a director of IT title than the global sample—35 percent versus 27 percent.
As an aside, this bias in the respondents indicates that insurance companies might tend to make mobile technologies too much of an IT issue, instead of a tool for changing or enhancing business strategies—and thus better dealt with by the business.
The first really interesting finding, I thought, is that insurance executives are more likely than their counterparts to see mobility as a No. 1 or 2 priority (54 percent against an average of 42 percent). The same is true of cloud (44 percent against an average of 27 percent) and connected products (42 percent against a similar average).
Insurers are also more likely to consider mobility a key part of their business strategy, and to have a formal, enterprise-wide mobility strategy. (This positive finding has to be qualified by the fact, noted above, that there is a bias towards IT executives amongst the respondents.)
So far, so very good. But what might ring a small peal of alarm bells is, as always, the detail: what insurers are using mobile technologies to do. They are most likely to see digital technologies as offering ways to increase sales in existing markets, penetrate new markets, increase market share, and increase speed to market. They are much less likely than peers in other industries to see those technological developments as a way to generate additional revenue, boost overall enterprise profitability, and strengthen their brands.
Are they maybe missing some significant opportunities here? And could this be related to the fact that, despite leading the pack in terms of realizing how important mobile technologies are, insurers are investing less?