Counter disruption with these key actions

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It’s time for insurers to take bold action with long-term impact and resilience in mind.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts in this series, the insurance industry is facing increasing levels of disruption—according to the Accenture Disruptability Index, the industry is in the volatility period. Insurers also face constantly evolving customer expectations, such as a new focus on sustainable development.

Most industries in this period of disruption, including the insurance sector, are well-established and asset rich. However, organizations in these sectors tend to lack the agility or appetite for risk that is required to compete with newcomers. These new entrants often disrupt at a product and service level, rather than competing across the value chain.

Disruptors are effective in three ways. They:

  • Deliver innovative products and experiences for consumers.
  • Break down incumbent defenses and barriers to entry.
  • Dramatically lower prices through new cost structures.

It’s time to adopt a new approach

Insurers facing this reality must be bold. It’s not enough to protect your position and rely on what’s worked in the past. You must confront disruption. Looking at long-term impacts, you need to reallocate financial, innovation and talent resources.

I recommend you approach a pivot from three angles:

  • Transform the core. Invest in activities that facilitate margin and capital efficiency improvements. Think about your assets, processes and people.
  • Grow the core. Invest in going upmarket to expand and grow the core product suite. Consider product extensions and the geographies they serve.
  • Scale the New.’ Invest in new product and service offerings and their delivery. Explore new product markets and business and participation models. And look at how you can use sustainability development as a tactic.

Insurance carriers don’t have to go it alone

Ecosystem partners can provide access to technologies, capabilities and specialized talent to help you respond to disruption in innovative ways and at scale. But select partners carefully. They must have the right ethos, collaboration, customer focus and incentive to complement your position. If you’re working toward sustainable development goals, it’s especially important to make sure ecosystem partners are similarly aligned.

A wise pivot does not mean just improving efficiency or adding a mobile app to give customers better and more personalized experiences. Cautious moves will not be enough. Insurers that have the courage to face disruption and achieve sustainability by pivoting on their own terms will be in the best position to meet customer demands and grow market share.

In my next post, I’ll take a closer look at what we mean by competitive agility.

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