Technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are improving rapidly. As these new tools change the way people live and work, the implications for the insurance sector are profound.

Accenture's 2018 Technology Vision for Insurance  suggests that innovation is accelerating across the industry. The report surveyed more than 600 insurance leaders. Eighty-two percent reported that their organizations must innovate at an increasingly rapid pace just to maintain a competitive edge.

The Tech Vision report also highlights five emerging trends shaping the way technology is increasing the impact of businesses across society. In this blog series, I’ll look at each of them in turn, with a particular emphasis on the IoT in insurance.

There’s no doubt that many businesses are betting big on advances in data-hungry tech. In 2017 alone, AI investments were estimated at $12.5 billion, while IoT investments came in at $800 billion. Blockchain is also attracting plenty of attention, with 49 percent of Tech Vision survey respondents reporting plans to research or pilot blockchain projects over the next year.

Some firms, of course, mix these techs together. For instance, Filament is a blockchain-based network that creates secure communication between IoT devices without connecting them to the cloud.

Insurers eager to take advantage of these technologies will need to rethink their current enterprise infrastructures to leverage an expanded network of devices and updated methodologies. This is a daunting task, yet without addressing it, insurers will be unable to deliver a sophisticated, intelligent experiences in robotics, immersive reality, AI, or the IoT.

Such innovative technologies are at the heart of a larger strategy uncovered by the Tech Vision survey. Eighty-four percent of the insurance leaders we canvassed reported that through new tech, their companies are weaving themselves seamlessly into the fabric of how people live today.

Through new partnerships with customers, employees, businesses, and even governments, insurers are helping society harness the power of these new technologies while mitigating their risks.

One such insurer is Aviva. Through its Aviva Ventures arm, the company has invested in connected-home start-ups Neos and Cocoon. In 2017, Aviva teamed up with Hillhouse Capital Management and Tencent Holdings to develop a Hong Kong company focused on digital insurance. More recently Aviva has partnered with Tesla to position itself at the forefront of driverless vehicles.

With new tools come new expectations, of course. Yet pioneering insurers have recognized that these expectations can be transformed into an enterprise strength by using their increased, embedded technology interactions to build deeper partnerships with customers, employees, governments, and the public.

We’ll see many examples of this over the course of this blog series. Come back next time for a post looking at the first trend identified in the Tech Vision report: Citizen AI. In the meantime, you can learn more and read the whole report yourself right here.

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