3 key digital trends for insurers to watch

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The insurance industry is changing rapidly, and it may seem daunting for carriers to navigate everything that's going on. But the payoffs are worth the struggle.

That's according to Sophia Yen, strategy and innovation leader for EY's Insurance Advisory practice, who will speak on “Embracing Digital” on the second day of Digital Insurance's Dig | In: The Digital Future of Insurance conference in Austin, May 14 to May 16.

Yen says she was inspired by the fact that there has never before been so much technology innovation and disruption happening simultaneously in so many different fields -- with major implications for insurance.

“The nature of how we live and interact has changed dramatically, while both emerging and traditional risks are changing,” she says. “We’ve never been flooded with so much information, data and opportunity before, yet many still struggle to find profitable growth.” Enabling and embracing digital, both within the traditional business model and new, emerging business models, will be critical, she adds.

She says there are three major trends to touch on:

1. Emerging technologies continue to serve as the digital revolution’s platform.

The most important emerging and evolving digital technologies — including IoT, blockchain, mobile, analytics, cloud, AI, 5G, and cyber — will become increasingly interconnected in the not-too-distant future, says Yen. “The result is that all of these emerging technologies will act as a platform much like machines, the assembly line and microprocessor chips did in previous technological revolutions,” she says.

2. For business leaders, digital enablement is key for the bottom line.

Business leaders must become digital enablers, meaning they must figure out how to incorporate these new technologies as an important part of driving profitable growth. That said, “I would encourage leaders to focus on the business problem and understand the pain points of the new economy, rather than simply chasing or hyper-focusing in on one specific solution,” she explains. Once the business pain points are solved, the digital trends industries love to discuss will pick up speed and drive growth.

3. Going forward, consumers will now expect one seamless digital life.

Across all industries, consumers now expect an increasingly seamless experience — a friction-free life. Companies which continue to have significant friction points, in fact, will be displaced, while those that solve for tomorrow’s pain points in a cost-effective, value-added, and seamless way will triumph.

Over the next year or two in the insurance industry, digital technologies will continue to quickly evolve. For example, AI will allow organizations to tap into intelligence at unprecedented levels; cloud will help access the power of supercomputing at an extraordinary scale; and IoT will connect people together in a seamless way.

“With the above in mind, the overarching issue is that these trends are playing out fast,” says Yen. “So, I think what we need to do is move faster. I also think there is something to be said about the one who acts as the first mover or within the group of first movers.”

As an industry, she adds, if organizations don’t solve their own pain points and drive profitable growth, then someone else will do it for them. Some have even called this ‘digitize or die,’ but Yen prefers ‘embracing digital.’ “I’m an eternal optimist,” she says.

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Data strategy Insurtech Data management EY