"Digitisation is a transformation mode- not an IT initiative" Kimberly Harris-Ferrante, VP and Distinguished Analyst, Gartner at ACORD Connect 2018 conference in New Orleans.

This critical factor seems to be ignored by many insurers and insurtechs that plan digital innovation before asking why it is important. 

Let's deploy AI and RPA! Let's adopt straight through processing (STP). Let's deploy a mobile app for customers. WHY? See bibliography at end article. 

Customers are and will demand much more from insurers and it  is too easy to think that a snazzy self-serve customer experience is the answer. Of course Amazon has already set the expectation levels as have Uber, Lyft, Lemonade, Slice and others. Insurers must surpass this with products, UX and customer journeys that astound and delight. 

BUT- the critical question is what customers will need from insurers in the near and longer-term future and how to deliver these needs to stop competitors stealing your business. Amazon and Chinese GAFAs, digitally disruptive insurers already active, full-stack insurtechs.

ACORD members lag behind in certain significant areas according to Gartner- that is a big concern.

  • New insurance product innovation- 36%
  • Business ecosystem strategy- 36%
  • Microservices strategy- 32%
  • Establishment senior transformation roles e.g. Chief Digital Officer or Transformation Officer- 32%

This strengthens Harris-Ferrante's view that too many insurers are traduced by technology rather than the overall business vision and strategy. Until they have that right the digital strategy is probably going to fail. 

She goes on to say "We're still weak at many of the levers that will drive business transformation and digital. Unless we change we'll be stuck at process optimisation rather than digital business transformation".

I do urge you to read the full article via the link below and also the articles here in the bibliography. 

Bibliography

Misunderstanding the economics of digital

Why data culture matters

Why companies end up spending more on digital technologies than anticipated

AI- "Analogue Fools rush in where Digital Angels fear to tread".

How to drive digital transformation BCG