Hot on the heels of hosting two major sporting events—the 2012 Olympics in London and Scotland’s Commonwealth Games in 2014—we are reminded of the importance of being fast, accurate and being seen to be the best. But even if you are Usain Bolt, widely regarded as the fastest sprinter ever, there are always challengers to being first at being fast. The same is true for most businesses today and the new alchemy for growth is agility. Agility in a corporate contextrefers to a company’s capacity to anticipate, sense and respond to volatility in its markets to its advantage. As our survey earlier this year among 71 senior insurance executives shows, respondents are bullish about withstanding threats from new entrants such as Amazon or Google. Well over half (61 percent) said they were confident of being able to withstand such threats today, with little change (58 percent) in three years’ time. Since 2008, I have seen the aggregator space become increasingly competitive. And if we are to take on board the views of the industry publication Insurance Age, aggregators are just another form of distribution. The publication argues that the size of the opportunity offered by aggregators is huge since they control so much distribution in personal lines that it is too big a slice of the potential market to ignore. Insurers require agility not only to keep pace with such new entrants but also to anticipate the next wave of market disrupters—perhaps, in the first instance, addressing the finding that 45 percent of survey respondents said it took more than six months to launch a new product or did not know.
From an Accenture Duck Creek perspective, we think insurers need to gain agility through real-time updates—whether around risk, rates, capabilities or product offerings—that flow from the supply chain to their own technology platform and on to the customer. Our software has a rating engine that facilitates changes by the business multiple times a day, with modules that can be implemented individually or as part of a broader migration strategy. With this combination of update frequency and ease of use, insurers can benefit from a level of flexibility that helps to better configure products and channels, transact lines of business and process claims. Contact me to hear more examples of how Accenture Duck Creek software has helped insurers not only reduce time to market, but also remove the worry of what happens to legacy systems further down the line.
 Insurance Age, 2 May 2013 [http://www.insuranceage.co.uk/insurance-age/feature/2264565/get-into-aggregators]