If 2020 was the year that insurers were disrupted, 2021 was the year that this disruption transformed into ongoing innovation. The insurance industry, from its core offerings, to its customers and to its employees, looked completely different. Insurers had grown comfortable with change being the norm, and that innovation was the key quality to survival in a recovering global economic climate.
This spirit of innovation was evident in the Efma–Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards for 2021. Innovation submissions shot up by almost 30%, with 460 submissions received. A diverse spectrum of insurance companies engaged with the awards, with 289 institutions from 55 countries submitting their top innovations.
The 460 submissions revealed strong trends, and presented a portrait of the opportunities that lie in the current industry. The sheer increase in submissions was a testament to the adaptability of the industry and the willingness to meet new customer expectations. The focus on integrated digital experiences powered by AI confirmed that insurers are entering a new era of transformation – transformation of distribution, transformation of servicing, and transformation of the insurance operating model. All of this is empowered and accelerated by technology, mostly AI and cloud technologies.
As witnessed by the continued focus on ecosystems, insurers are partnering with related industries to access new customers and add deeper value to consumers.
While digital tools are important in making new value propositions a reality, insurance carriers are as good as the employees that work for them. That means a dedicated focus on the insurance workforce and the platforms that serve them is required. Insurers are leveraging the digital platforms and processes that made collaboration possible in 2020 to kickstart greater innovation, wellness and a cohesive working environment.
Insurers are listening to their employees and consumers. Leading insurers want to be sought after and defined by their positive impact. This extends beyond their immediate team and customers, and to their greater world, with sustainability becoming an increasing area of focus. Insurers are realising that issues of climate change and sustainability not only impact how they calculate and mitigate risk, but can be a point of differentiation.
As this year’s trends, winners and innovations show, the future of insurance is one defined by positive, high-impact change.