Accenture’s recent survey of 559 insurance underwriters and product managers highlights the need for insurers to improve product speed to market in ways that drive top-line growth—a point I raised in last week’s post.

Carriers are recognizing the shortcoming around their current speeds to market. Nearly 60 percent are either currently implementing or planning to invest in product development tools in the next three years. Still, without a holistic view of product development, returns on insurance product investments will be poor at best.

Insurers can look circumspectly across the product life cycle, taking four key actions to identify and take advantage of opportunities to improve product speed-to-market:

  • Assess your operating model. Does your organizational structure support active participation and empowerment across functions and business units? What governance elements are in place to ensure continuous leadership commitment and sponsorship?
  • Step back and think through your product development process. Is it holistic and clearly understood? Do you have the right key performance indicators and reporting mechanisms to measure performance against product objectives?
  • Check that you have a well-defined product architecture. Are you capturing all product information (from eligibility and packaging to pricing, underwriting guidelines and forms), and making it easily accessible?  Is your knowledge management effective in promoting better understanding and re-use?
  • Invest in technology enablers. Is your development environment integrated?  Does it foster effective collaboration across stakeholders?

Achieving synergy across business and IT initiatives can improve product development and give insurers direct revenue and cost advantages. Our insurance clients improved their product time-to-market speeds 50 percent to 70 percent by making changes to their product introduction and maintenance processes. By changing to business user-driven product rules and reducing non-value activities, they reduced their IT expenses by 30 percent to 50 percent.

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