Digital reinvention

Trust, transparency and technology in the insurance
world of tomorrow

What is a “digital insurer”? How can becoming one help carriers get closer to customers? These are questions many companies are asking themselves. In what seems like the blink of an eye, emerging technologies and social media have created major economic, societal and business shifts. Yet insurers are struggling to keep up. As digitally enabled technologies empower and connect individuals more easily and regularly with businesses and each other, a constrained realm of changes is not good enough anymore. Insurers have to act soon.

Today’s uber-connected individuals seek 24/7 access and organizational transparency, as well as greater personal influence and participation. This is a trend not well understood in insurance: while 54 percent of C-Suite executives overall credit customers with direct influence on their business strategy, only 39 percent of insurance executives acknowledge this customer impact.

The culmination of these forces spawns disruption, and insurers, consequently, are not well prepared strategically: more than 60 percent of insurance CEOs told us they still lack both an integrated physical and mobile strategy, as well as a cohesive strategy for social business.

And yet, digital technologies ultimately will drive drastic changes in the economy: value chains will fragment, industries will converge and new ecosystems will emerge. Although in the insurance industry this will be tempered by regulations, privacy considerations and the fundamental nature of risk, insurers cannot escape the changing mechanics of value creation and allocation.

So, what will this future of continual digital disruption entail? How will new convergent technologies impact organizations and industries? What can organizations start doing today to prepare for a vastly different business environment? In particular, which investments, priorities and actions can set the stage for success during turbulent and ongoing change?

The 2013 IBM Digital Reinvention Study considers the answers to such questions. To better understand the deepening impact of digital technologies on today’s organizations, the IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed approximately 1,100 business and government executives and 5,000 consumers. We also conducted in-depth interviews with 30 leading futurists in more than 10 countries. To gather new insights and capture ongoing trends from the insurance industry, we surveyed an additional 17,600 consumers in 24 countries about specific insurance matters.

Our analysis of study findings shows that as economic changes persist, the interactions between organizations and individuals also keep changing – and this change is rampant. In fact, the global economy was characterized as highly organization-centered for most of the Twentieth Century. Its current state – individual-centricity – emerged around 1990, but this will soon evolve toward an everyone-to-everyone (E2E) model of engagement. These E2E environments will be orchestrated, symbiotic, aware and cognitive.

To prepare for the challenges and opportunities of an E2E model, successful insurers will need to think disruptively, challenge established norms and blur organizational boundaries. They must open up to external influences, expand partnering and accelerate their digital investments. This executive report offers practical ways to prepare for that fast-approaching and radically different tomorrow.

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