I was privileged to attend the recent launch of the Accenture Digital Insurance Network at the Accenture Innovation Lab in London. The aim of the Network is to provide a forum in which digital leaders within the insurance community can interact, both physically and virtually.

As you might expect, over the two days a lot of interesting topics were discussed. My colleague, Thomi Meyer, is currently blogging on some of them, and I’d also like to talk about some of the topics raised by delegates that interested me.

The first of these is the whole notion of legacy. It’s something that came up time and again, and really it’s something anyone who is contemplating digital transformation needs to consider.

Legacy has two aspects: technology and mindset. Let’s start with perhaps the most challenging, which is the mindset of the people within the insurer, as they confront the challenge of rethinking the entire business model—without this, digital will simply be a way to do what they are doing a little better. In fact, though, the competitive landscape is changing dramatically, primarily driven by the new breed of empowered, connected customer.

To service these customers, all industries will have to become radically customer-centric. I say “radically” because we are not talking here about doing what are doing now but just better tailored to customers, but rather first understanding what our customers want, and then delivering it—whatever it is.

What’s emerging loud and clear is that insurance customers want more than just products, they want solutions. Ultimately, satisfying them will require a whole new approach. See my blogs on the Accenture Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey to learn more.

Evangelizing this concept, and being able to show business colleagues exactly what this new way of thinking could look like, is going to be an important role that today’s digital leaders must assume. I stress the concept of “showing” because the business will need to see exactly how a new model could work. Videos like this one from the Israeli insurer Migdal do a good job of showing how this customer-centric future could work, and facilities like the Accenture Innovation Lab, where we held the Digital Insurance Network launch, will also provide a place where the future could be experienced.

As important, digital evangelists will also have to be able to talk dollars and cents to be able to convince their business colleagues that there is gold in them thar hills. Advance notice: my team is busy finishing up a research project that aims to put some digital models and figures on the table. I’ll be blogging on this next, and there will also be a white paper on How to become a high-performance digital insurer. Register now to make sure you get a copy when it becomes available.

Getting colleagues to see what the digital future could look like—and how it would help them do their jobs better—is vital.

Technology, of course, is both the enabler and the shaper of the future. More about the challenge of legacy technology next time.

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