I am proud to be hosting the 14th Insurance Day in Milan on 6 October. Organized by Accenture in partnership with the financial publisher Milano Finanza, and boasting an agenda with many of the country’s leading insurance executives, this event has established itself over the past 13 years as a prime event for the industry.

As usual, the theme is innovation. This year our focus will be on the Internet of Things (IoT), an innovation that is rapidly gathering impetus and promises to transform insurance around the world, including in Italy.

The upturn in the insurance industry in my country, which began in 2013, looks set to continue. Premium revenues are likely to climb nearly 9 percent to around €155 billion this year. This increase is well above the performance of many European markets. The main driver is the life insurance business which leaped nearly 30% to €101.5 billion in 2014.

Insurers have achieved much of this growth by bolstering efficiency and productivity. Long-term improvement, however, will require big changes in how insurers conduct business. The IoT has the potential to redefine almost every facet of the insurance market. To succeed in the new interconnected digital economy, triggered by the IoT, insurers must think of new ways to develop, market and deliver products and services. Moves into new partnerships and markets will be essential.

Already 60 percent of insurers surveyed by Accenture have launched products and services based on digital technology. Artificial intelligence, robotics and driverless vehicle technology are among the new digital technologies currently grabbing a lot of attention. More than 40 percent of insurers intend forging alliances with organizations outside the insurance industry to deliver new products and services across digital platforms.

The impact of the IoT on the insurance industry is, without doubt, going to be enormous. But what is unclear is how to best respond to this digital revolution. Some insurers have sought to get a lead on competitors by quickly launching digital solutions. These we call the Digital Transformers. Many others are still planning their move into the digital arena. The new generation of insurers who harness of the full potential of the IoT, the successful Insurers of Things, has yet to emerge.

Innovative strategies built on sound research and insight will be vital to the future success of insurance companies. Such strategies will also need to be informed by the experiences and observations of other insurers operating in markets around the world.

The Insurance Day gathering next week will give insurers in Italy an opportunity to gain further insight into the opportunities and threats triggered by the rise of the IoT. It will allow them to share information with other players in the industry and gather insights from prominent researchers and consultants as well as top digital services firms. It promises to be one of the important ever convened.

In my next blog I’ll report back on some of the insights and forecasts presented at Insurance Day. I’m sure it’s going to be a very useful and interesting event.

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