In a time of massive disruption from new technologies and competitors, combined with rapidly changing customer expectations and buying behaviors, many insurers continue to struggle to innovate. An often-overlooked reason is that the talent pools, competencies and ideas in many organizations look much the same now as they did when today’s C-level leaders entered the workforce.

Diversity statistics show that traditional insurers have a ways to go. To put it bluntly, the insurance C-suite remains stubbornly homogenous even as its target market becomes younger and increasingly diverse. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, minorities hold only 11 percent of executive or senior management positions in insurance. When it comes to board seats, women hold 12.6 percent across insurance. In the top executive positions, women’s numbers fall to a single digit—just 6 percent.

It’s time for insurers that wish to remain relevant to actively seek out leaders with different backgrounds and experiences. In order to develop new, compelling services and experiences for customers, the decision makers in insurance need to be able to identify with the increasingly broad and diverse customer demographics, lifestyles and expectations.

Accenture’s 2017 Technology Vision for Insurance research shows that a whopping majority (96 percent) of insurance executives put a personalized customer experience in their top-five organizational priorities. But, despite the increase in the availability of customer data and insights, 71 percent report they struggle to fully understand customers’ needs and goals.

There are creative ways to overcome obstacles to innovation. Some leading insurers are looking at outside talent and ideas in order to challenge the status quo. Others have started using design thinking to break through the bureaucracy of entrenched processes.

Future success in insurance requires solutions that appeal to the needs of a changing customer base. Insurers need a refreshed wardrobe of talent and ideas—starting with the C-suite.

In my next post, I will outline the four key steps for a successful C-suite makeover.

To learn more in the meantime, download this report: The Insurance C-Suite Needs a Makeover

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