As mentioned in my previous blogs, there are many converging pressures on insurers that are leading them further down the digital path. Not least among these pressures is the fact that customers have changed, in many important ways. Online, connected and prepared to use social media to share their opinions in the marketplace, customers are savvy and sensitive to the best deals. In fact, global Accenture research found 67 percent of consumers would consider buying insurance from companies other than traditional insurance companies—a warning shot for any insurer, especially those that are behaving cautiously.
Many insurers take the view that their priorities lie with getting the basics right before worrying about digital. Yet our survey among 71 senior insurance executives in the United Kingdom found that 58 percent of respondents were less confident tomorrow than today that their legacy systems would meet their upcoming needs. These concerns about their core operations are adding to the pressures of distribution, production and regulatory threats that make sticking to the status quo unsustainable. And here’s where digital wins. Digital has been seen to not only increase cross-selling by 50 to 100 percent and provide the perfect platform for delivering superior customer experiences through connected devices and mobile phones, but also deliver a range of benefits from cross-channel excellence, to simplifying operations or being better, and quicker, at running an insurance business well.
Let’s not forget, too, that having the right support is a vital ingredient. It’s fine having excellent systems and software, but insurers need to know not only that the software can upgrade regularly to keep pace with changing needs, but also that there is a team on hand to resolve any difficulties that may occur. Insurers rarely operate in “splendid isolation;” they team with suppliers who can offer a sliding scale of support. Our survey found that while 68 percent expressed confidence in their software suppliers’ delivery capabilities, a worrying one-third (34 percent) said confidence levels were medium to low. I like to think that the Accenture Duck Creek team can make a difference—with the backing of a growing global organisation of 305,000 people with diverse skills, we know how to build, integrate and enhance, maintain and support software, drawing on digital skills whether related to mobile, analytics, customer journey engagement, or cloud-based technologies. And you can come along and see for yourself—our Digital Insurance Solution Centre in London includes a pragmatic “test and learn” facility that brings to life the concepts and emerging trends for the insurance marketplace.
While digital is likely to be a different journey for each insurer, as the familiar saying goes “there’s no gain without pain.” Watch this space for more ways insurers can better manage the demands of today and tomorrow.
 The Digital Insurer: Creating a Connected Future, Accenture 2014
 Figures are based on the impact observed in 15 financial institutions during the last 6 years