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Report flags divide between digital insurance leaders, laggards

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On a host of mission-critical benchmarks, life insurers and other “industry leaders” that are moving agressively to implement game-changing digital technologies are outpacing “laggards” that have been slow to innovate.

So says Genpact Research Institute, the research think tank of Genpact and ACORD, the global standards setting body for the insurance industry. The think tank discloses this finding in a survey of 113 insurers, brokers, agencies, MGAs and wholesalers from the ACORD membership and newsletter database. The respondents rated their companies’ ability to achieve business gains from digital technologies. The study also explores factors that distinguish digital leaders from laggards.

Related: Harnessing the power of digital: Are life insurers up to the task?

The report shows that nearly all (91 percent) respondents working for digital leaders say technology has significantly impacted their companies’ revenue growth. That compares to approximately half (55 percent) of laggards.

One measure of the impact: increased customer loyalty. Seven in 10 of those polled say digital technologies have boosted customer loyalty, compared to only 36 percent of laggards.

Leaders are more than six times more likely than laggards to see a substantial effect from digital on their company’s “single view” of the customer: an aggregated, consistent and holistic representation of the data an organization knows about its customers.

The survey adds the majority (81 percent) of companies with middle and back offices that effectively support customer expectations are “digital leaders.” That suggests that aligning front, middle and back office operations directly impacts the effectiveness of IT solutions, improving customer experience, and the company’s performance.

Related: The coming IoT revolution: a 6-point plan for life insurers

“The insurance industry needs to move beyond just ‘fixing’ legacy systems,” says Genpact Senior Vice President and Global Leader Scott McConnell in a press statement. “This remains a critical concern; however, process transformation through the front, middle and back office is what drives a superior customer experience and sets up a company for growth.”

He adds: “Insurers must also take note where channels struggle most. And [they must] support the agent network and other indirect channels with resources to enable transformation of the end-to-end customer experience.”

Related: DOL fiduciary rule: Disruption or opportunity?

Continue reading for a more detailed account of the report’s findings.

Nearly all (91 percent) digital leaders say technology has significantly impacted their companies’ revenue growth. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Among the report’s additional findings:

    • More than half (58 percent) of all respondents (including professionals at insurers and in insurance distribution channels) predict that digital technologies will substantially impact the industry in the next two years. 

    • Nearly 7 in 10 respondents (68 percent) say that legacy IT systems remain a “top barrier” to hoped-for technology gains. The obstacle is more pronounced among laggards that seem unable to “instill a culture of innovation.”

    • More than 8 in 10 (82 percent) laggards note their companies lack a “corporate vision” for overhauling business operations using solutions. That compares to only 27 percent of leaders.

    • Laggards struggle much more than leaders to experiment with new IT solutions. Eighty-two (82) percent of laggards cite this as a challenge, compared to 41 percent of leaders.

    • Laggards are more risk-averse than industry leaders in implementing digital solutions (91 percent versus 48 percent, respectively).

Read the Genpact Research Institute report here.


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