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The Era of the Intelligent Insurer – Accenture Report

Article Synopsis :

“Technology Vision for Insurance 2017” is Accenture’s annual survey of the insurance landscape in search of emerging people-centric technology trends holding the greatest potential to disrupt our industry. This year’s report identifies five trends/predictions that underscore the importance of focusing on ‘Technology for People’ to achieve real digital business success:

 The Digital Insurer reviews Accenture’s Report on The Era of the Intelligent Insurer

A new wave of ‘people-centric’ technologies takes industry disruption to another level 

Trend 1: AI is the new UI. Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to touch insurance customers, agents, employees and business partners. Moving beyond low value, highly repetitive back-office tasks, AI is taking on more sophisticated roles within technology interfaces, making them simpler and smarter, setting a high bar for how future interactions will work.


  • In five years, more than half of your customers will select your services based on your AI instead of your traditional brand.
  • In seven years, most interfaces will not have a screen and will be integrated into daily tasks.
  • In ten years, digital assistants will be so pervasive they’ll keep employees productive 24/7/365, operating in the background for specific workplace interactions, such as creating video summaries right after an important meeting.

Trend 2: Ecosystem Power Plays. Insurers are starting to integrate their core business functions with third parties and their platforms. Leveraging these relationships to build a stake in new digital ecosystems will unlock the next wave of strategic growth.


  • In five years, the majority of customers will be purchasing goods or services through digital intermediaries such as messaging platforms, connected devices, or smart assistants.
  • Five years from now, 80% of the S&P 500 will be engaged in multiple industry ecosystems, and most will have made public statements about increasing their reliance on ecosystems for future revenue growth.
  • In seven years’ time, an industry leader of today will have transformed into an ecosystem company spanning multiple markets. The enterprise will lie at the center of a disruptive ecosystem, holding no physical headquarters and few permanent staff, its most valuable asset being the digital platform.

Trend 3: Workforce Marketplace. Digital insurance leaders are beginning to reinvent their workforces. Driven by a surge of on-demand  labor platforms and online work management solutions, legacy models and hierarchies are being dissolved and replaced with open talent marketplaces. The resulting on-demand enterprise will be key to the rapid innovation and organizational changes that insurers need to transform themselves into truly digital businesses.


  • In five years or less, compared to traditional full-time employment, talent marketplaces will provide workers with improved earning opportunities, more rewarding work, secure benefits, and respected credentials.
  • Within five years, most industries will have new, dominant leaders with business structures based on small cores and powerful ecosystems. Corporations still carrying legacy bureaucratic models will experience deterioration of market power.
  • In the next five years, on-demand labor platforms will emerge as a primary driver of economic growth in developed and emerging economies worldwide.

Trend 4: Design for Humans. The new frontier of digital insurance is technology designed specifically for individual human behavior. As technology shrinks the gap between effective human and machine cooperation, accounting for unique human behavior expands not only the quality of the experience, but also the effectiveness of technology solutions. This shift is transforming traditional personalized relationships into something more valuable, namely, partnerships.


  • Within five years, a set of Global 2000 companies will begin hiring employees based not only on self-reported experience, but also on behaviors exhibited during previous roles and how individuals handled themselves in certain situations.
  • In five years or less, governments will collaborate with businesses to drive sustainable shifts in societal behavior. Energy efficiency, CO2 reductions, and landfill diversion will be the first targets.
  • By 2022, multinational organizations will introduce employee-facing technologies that can identify when a worker is frustrated and then alter the tone and style of feedback or guidance automatically delivered to the worker.
  • Within five years, a Global 2000 company will lose significant market share due to a behavior-manipulation scandal.

Trend 5: The Uncharted. Insurers are not just creating new products and services; they’re shaping new digital industries. From technology standards to ethical norms, to government mandates, in an ecosystem-driven digital economy, one thing is clear: a wide scope of rules still needs to be defined. To fulfill their digital ambitions, insurers must help shape the new rules of the game. Those who take the lead will find a place at or near the center of their new ecosystem, while those who don’t risk being left behind.


  • Within three years, businesses with mature digital strategies will operate across currently siloed industries, such as Tesla does today. For these companies, industry boundaries will vanish, and each new endeavor will amplify disruption.
  • By 2020, there will be entire ecosystems requiring the use of smart contracts to participate.
  • Within five years, new performance-based contracts—taking the form of ‘if/then/else’ between two or more parties—will exclusively be smart contracts that self-govern and self-execute.
  • In five years’ time, there will be numerous instances globally where governments will cede rule-making authority to industry groups or, minimally, enact regulations that were designed by an industry consortium.


Digital Insurer's Comments

It’s taken for granted that technology is disrupting insurance. What’s lost in this new wave of cognitive technologies, including machine learning, AI, contextual analysis, and image recognition, is that it’s no longer people who are adapting to technology—rather, the technology is adapting to us.

Digital natives and InsurTechs are unleashing these technologies to disrupt ourselves, our organizations and, eventually, our entire industry. Though we leave it to you to agree or disagree with the specific predictions rendered in this report, it’s our view that the timeframes associated with the predictions—five years on average—are realistic, if not conservative.

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