New Sense of Urgency on Going Digital

Events have forced C-suite leaders to realize that their digital transformation efforts need to be expanded and accelerated to light speed.


If necessity is the mother of invention, the insurance industry can proudly say that, in the face of COVID-19, necessity also became the mother of innovation. 

Kudos to the Insurance Industry

From repositioning hundreds of thousands of employees from offices to a fully effective remote work-from-home format in less than a month to quickly implementing technologies enabling them to continue to offer products, services and support, barely missing a beat, the industry rose to the challenge.

These accomplishments did not just happen. It took decisive leadership, starting in the C-suites of the industry, and focused, well-articulated action plans that flowed down into middle management and out to the front lines.  It also took increased investment, some of which was unexpected and unbudgeted. Marshaling the capital required a compelling justification, and in business there is no more convincing target than results and outcomes, which are measured by a variety of metrics beyond just financial results, including customer experience and satisfaction, retention, market share growth, reputation management, credibility and competitive strength. 

More Work to Do

But this transformation is far from over and will no doubt continue long after the pandemic recedes. There is a sense of urgency not evident prior to March 2020. Events over the past few months have forced C-suite leaders to realize that their digital transformation efforts need to be expanded and accelerated to light speed. It is now broadly accepted that a comprehensive digital strategy and implementation plan is critical to carriers that are serious about becoming digital insurers. 

Immediate, Enterprise-Wide Digitization Now Job #1  

Unfortunately, not all carriers will succeed in this journey. The survivors will be innovative, nimble and fiercely customer-centric. They will be committed to enterprise-wide conversion to digitization. Investments in mission-critical technology will need to be prioritized. Speed to market will be mandatory. The hallmarks of successful carriers will include leveraging high-powered transformational technologies, including IoT, telematics, sensors and more. These same market leaders will learn to find and engage with traditionally unreachable customers and convert them into their brand ambassadors. And these leaders will adopt digital technology as a strategic priority and achieve automation efficiency by arming their companies with the very latest in client communications, finance processes, digital and touchless claims processes and digital marketing.

See also: COVID-19: Technology, Investment, Innovation

According to Reuters Events’ Connected Insurance 2020 Report, in 2019, 63% of insurance carriers rated the development of new digital products and services as a key expected outcome over the next 12 months. In a post-pandemic world, it is likely that figure will be nearer 100%.

We need to take every opportunity to listen and learn from our industry leaders, who understand what it takes to survive this challenging period and emerge even stronger.

This theme will be explored in depth in the Reuters Events webinar titled “CNA, Nationwide and Quadient: A C-Suite Take on Results Driven Technology” on Sept. 3, 2020. Register here. This webinar is being run in conjunction with The Future of Insurance USA 2020, which takes place online Nov. 16–18.

Stephen Applebaum

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Stephen Applebaum

Stephen Applebaum, managing partner, Insurance Solutions Group, is a subject matter expert and thought leader providing consulting, advisory, research and strategic M&A services to participants across the entire North American property/casualty insurance ecosystem.


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