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Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 sees promising future in AI

According to Accenture’s recently published Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 report, insurers are investing in Artificial Intelligience (AI) in an effort to enhance the customer experience through automated personalized services, faster claims handling, and individual risk-based underwriting processes. In addition to predicting transformation in the insurance industry arising from innovations in AI, the report also acknowledges that challenges with integration persist.

In its recently published report – Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 – Accenture presents insights gathered from a technology advisory board, in addition to the findings of interviews with industry technologists, plus a survey that included more than 550 insurance executives across 31 countries.

According to the report’s findings, insurance executives are predicting that artificial intelligence (AI) will significantly transform the industry over the next three years. Insurers are increasingly investing in AI tech in  the hopes that it will help to empower agents, brokers, and employees, in order to enhance the customer experience by offering automated personalised services, faster claims handling, and individual risk-based underwriting processes.

Despite these promising findings, the report also found that many insurers face considerable challenges when it comes to the integration of AI tech with their existing systems. Respondents cited issues such as data quality, privacy, and infrastructure compatibility as key culprits.

Nevertheless, one third (32%) of surveyed insurers believe that their own company will be ‘completely transformed’ by AI within the aforementioned three-year time frame. Moreover, an additional 39% expected AI to ‘significantly change’ their company. Four in five (79%) of the executives surveyed believe that AI will revolutionise the way insurers gain information from and interact with their customers.

When asked about the benefits of embedding AI into user interfaces, more than half (55%) of respondents cited better data analysis and insight. Further highlighting the industry’s growing adoption of AI, two-thirds (68%) of respondents said they now use AI-powered intelligent virtual assistants either across the organisation or in specific business areas to create better customer interactions.

“The adoption of artificial intelligence is gaining momentum within insurance, with executives pointing to AI’s potential to revolutionize the customer experience and empower agents, brokers and employees…. Our research shows that insurers are investing in AI technologies to, among other things, improve customer interactions based on written and spoken interactions, gestures, interactive touch displays and hybrid mixed-reality platforms that merge the virtual and the real world, with each customer exchange becoming increasingly personalized.” John Cusano , Senior managing director & global head of Accenture Insurance 

Accenture’s report finds that AI is one of five key trends shaping the insurance industry, referring to AI as the ‘new UI’ (user interface). The report further highlights four more central themes:

Ecosystem Power Plays , Insurers are building a more prominent role in new digital ecosystems to unlock their next wave of strategic growth, complementing their direct customer relationships with a push toward a broader ecosystem approach. More than nine in 10 (94%) of executives surveyed said that adopting a platform-based business model is critical to their business, and three-quarters (76%) said that their organisation’s competitive advantage will be influenced by the strength of the partners and the ecosystems they choose.

Workforce Marketplace , A surge of on-demand labor platforms and online work management solutions is up-ending workplace dynamics and traditional corporate structures, replacing them with open talent marketplaces. Four-fifths (79%) of respondents said they are under extreme competitive pressure to extend innovation into their workforce and organisational structure, with the report noting that a fast and effective way to do this is by leveraging workplace marketplaces to crowdsource innovation on demand. In fact, more than half (54%) of respondent organisations said they plan to grow their freelance workforce over the next year by anywhere from 25% to 100%, with another 9% planning to more than double its size in that time.

Design for Humans , Technology is shrinking the gap between effective human and machine cooperation. By leveraging adaptive technologies and interfaces that interact with customers and employees in a more natural, human way, insurers will be able to move beyond simple personalisation techniques to provide real-time services and risk-management solutions that address customers’ actual behaviours and goals, using customer-driven insights to drive innovation. In fact, more than one-third (35%) of respondents said they plan to use human behaviour extensively to guide the development of new customer experiences and relationships.

The Uncharted , Other emerging new technologies in insurance, such as blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, could address the industry’s historically cumbersome challenges of governance, accountability and digital trust. Five in six respondents (84 percent) said that blockchain and smart contracts will be either very or moderately critical to their organisation over the next three years.

To access the complete Accenture report (PDF) – Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 – click here.

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