The need to extend the traditional insurance chain by building new ecosystems of partners is perhaps the most important point to consider.

To my mind, the most important of our key findings in the Accenture Digital Innovation Survey 2014 is the realization that insurers will have to be prepared to expand their value chains quite radically to achieve success in the emerging digital world.

The reason for this is clear: customers (and consumers in general) are looking for more than just insurance products—they are looking for solutions to their lifestyle needs. Insurers, along with service providers in other industries, must be prepared to work with other companies to put such solutions together—or risk disintermediation. In fact, as my comments in earlier blogs suggest, this is the area in which the innovators will really stand out. These are the companies that have understood that to be in business—whatever business—is to serve customer needs; not as best one can, but as closely as possible.

Such insurers are already emerging. As the diagram below shows, 43 percent of respondents have made or are planning acquisitions of start-ups or innovative players (though insurers are actually more likely to be investors in these companies in order to position themselves better, rather than outright acquirers). Even more important, 61 percent have added or are considering adding non-insurance products and services to their offerings—you can see what the main areas are. This is so they can better meet the needs of their customers, and they will do what that takes to do so.

View the image.
View the image.

Next time, I’ll conclude this series with a look at the characteristics of the small group of companies that “get” the need for true digitalization—a subset we are calling the Digital Transformers.

For more information, download the full survey results of the Accenture Digital Innovation Survey 2014: Seizing the opportunities of digital transformation and explore the data using our data visualization tool.

Other papers on the topic that you might find useful:

CMOs: Time for digital transformation Or risk being left on the sidelines

Accenture 2013 Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey: Playing to win

Read our latest thinking on Customer Centricity

Double the profits: How high-performance insurers can create business value from digital transformation

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