One of the five trends identified in this year’s Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance is Intelligent Automation. Leading insurers will embrace automation not just to take advantage of the breakneck pace of digital change, but also to create a new digital world where they hold a competitive advantage. Machines and artificial intelligence will be the newest recruits to the workforce, bringing new skills to help people do new jobs, and reinventing what’s possible.

The volume of data that insurers need to gather, manage and analyze is growing at an exponential rate as cars, commercial and industrial equipment, fitness wearables and homes are woven into the Internet of Things. Sifting through the masses of big data to make rapid decisions is beyond the capability of the human workforce.

Luckily, the next generation of intelligent automation technologies and big data tools bridges the gap. According to our survey of approximately 450 insurance executives in 15 countries, 35 percent of insurers have already seen more than 15 percent cost savings from automating systems and processes in the past two years.

Intelligent Automation: The Essential New Co-Worker for the Digital Age

But leading insurers are also looking at how to blend automation and human agency in order to transform every area of the organization—from underwriting and claims assessment through to the customer experiences they provide. A huge 82 percent of insurers surveyed believe AI-driven automation will be seamlessly embedded into every aspect of the business over the next five years.

Intelligent Automation: The Essential New Co-Worker for the Digital Age

But the goal of intelligent automation is not just to help the insurer’s people to perform the same tasks faster and more efficiently. It is also to underpin the move to new platform- and ecosystem-based business models, and to enable new products and services—ones that are more personalized and real-time than traditional insurance cover.

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