As I covered in my last post, according to our Financial Services Change Survey 2017, change investment is growing across the insurance industry, and a small group of insurers are better at managing change than others.

What makes these change leaders more successful than their peers in insurance? Our survey revealed several key attributes of insurers excelling at change:

A well-defined digital strategy, with stronger change vision and leadership. Change leaders in insurance reported they have a long-term digital strategy that encompasses the enterprise and balances external channels and internal operations. All have a clear vision of the change that is needed over the next three years to execute this strategy, and of the required change portfolio. Only two-thirds of other insurers can say the same. Accenture’s extensive Change Tracking study, which has interviewed more than a million employees engaged in a variety of change programs, confirms the importance of these factors. It has found that vision and leadership combined has a three- to fourfold greater influence on the realization of change benefits than any other factor.

61 percent of change leader employees strongly agree that their organization has a clear vision of change for the next three years.57 percent of change leader employees agree that their organization has a clear view of its change portfolio for the next 12 months.

Focus on the human factor. People are at the heart of these insurers’ change programs. They recognize the importance of a supportive culture that embraces change, stimulates innovation and fosters agility – without this kind of environment transformation is an uphill battle. And they’re not only focusing on their culture, they’re getting it right. Eighty-six percent say their employees are optimistic, and engaged and motivated by change, compared to 69 percent of other insurers.

Stronger change execution capability. Change leaders are more likely to have centralized change teams (89 percent vs. 59 percent). They demonstrate a diverse range of professional change skills and capabilities (96 percent vs. 61 percent), a consistent set of change management methods and tools (93 percent vs. 59 percent), and strong governance and transparency (93 percent vs. 64 percent). And importantly, their change leaders have the data they need to navigate successful change (93 percent vs. 59 percent).

Agile methodologies are another reason for the effectiveness of their execution. They use them much more than other insurers and apply them with more discipline. They employ agile for 62 percent of their change on average (vs. 37 percent) and are increasingly using it for larger programs.

These attributes enable leading insurers to execute change with greater pace and discipline, separating them from the rest of the pack. Other insurers should pay attention to what they do and start looking for ways to thrive in this new digital economy.

In my next post, I’ll talk about what insurers can learn from these success stories, and how you can become a change leader, too.

To learn more, read our full Financial Services Change Survey 2017 Insurance Report.

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