My last post introduced Accenture’s Future Systems research—our largest systems survey ever—where we studied technology “leaders” and “laggards” from more than 8,300 global companies across 20 industries, including insurance. It became clear that industry leaders’ approaches to technology not only drive higher revenue growth, but also sustainable value compared to laggards.

We’re seeing this play out in the insurance industry where leading insurers’ investments in technology consider the benefit to the broader insurance organization, particularly when it comes to their core life and annuity management systems. Life and annuity carriers typically operate separate lines of business (LoBs), each often having its own distinct operating model and supporting technology. For many carriers, the model is simply a continuation of business as usual. However, some insurers are questioning the wisdom of such models and beginning to break down the technology silos that result. They are uncovering sustainable value that’s also enabling them to scale innovation.

In a recent collaboration with one leading life insurer, we built a digital ecosystem for its direct-to-consumer business. The goal was to simplify its IT environment leveraging cloud technology to enable the carrier with greater speed and flexibility to underwrite high-volume, low-face-value policies. Looking across its enterprise, the insurer discovered that its agency-based LoB had a similar goal for its high-volume, high-face-value policies.

Five key actions insurance industry leaders take to scale growth and innovation

The project demonstrated four of the five key actions leaders take to drive sustained value from their technology investments.

  1. Adopt technologies that make the organization fast and flexible
  2. Get grounded in cloud computing
  3. Recognize data as being both an asset and a liability
  4. Manage technology investments well—across the enterprise
  5. Find creative ways to nurture talent

This insurer is not only advancing the speed and flexibility required to operate both LoBs, but also using the cloud to simplify its IT environment and drive profitable growth. Laggards would have stopped at addressing the immediate objectives, a decision that could limit the ability to scale later. By adopting a single flexible technology platform for both LoBs, the carrier could adapt its system to meet the unique needs of each LoB.

Accenture collaborated with the client’s underwriting rules provider, AURA, to combine its software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based multivariate underwriting rules capability with the Accenture Life Insurance & Annuity Platform’s (ALIP’s) cloud-based automation and orchestration capabilities. As a result, the client can process electronic applications in minutes for its direct-to-consumer business—a feat that was unattainable with its legacy system.

Turning to its agency-based LoB, the organization is in the process of leveraging lessons learned to speed adoption of similar technological advancements. In this application, the client is planning to streamline the evidence-gathering process through automation, freeing underwriting resources to conduct the value-added work of decisioning high-face-value policies that require additional evidence to accurately assess risk. In the process, they also see opportunity to reduce underwriting costs by using analytics to better predict risk and limit the use of more costly sources of evidence, such as lab tests, where applicable.

Adopting a cloud-based flexible technology architecture served as the platform to help this carrier sustain value by scaling growth and innovation. They applied technological advances in underwriting and automation and leveraged data to improve underwriting accuracy and profitability across two distinct lines of business.

Shifting the mindset from “insurance systems of record” to “future systems of innovation”

Our industry is ripe for change. According to research and advisory firm Gartneri, 99 percent of insurance respondents surveyed indicated that they had either already modernized, are in the process of modernizing, or plan to do so over the next year. And of those surveyed, half believe that a modern system is more than a system of record—it’s a system of engagement or innovation.

At Accenture, we share a similar perspective among many of our clients with whom we’ve collaborated to establish a future systems approach to modernization, one that is helping them scale innovation to achieve full value from their technology platform. We invite you to do the same. Contact us to learn more.

Additional reading: 

Automated Underwriting: Breaking the rules to spark an underwriting revolution 

Insurance CIOs Have Core System Modernization on Their AgendaGartner, Inc., Richard Natale and Peter Delano, December 23, 2019.

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