Last week, Bill Kenealy highlighted a recent Accenture study that revealed that 62% of insurers surveyed planned on expanding into new geographic markets. And why not? Disruptive markets often spawn new thinking, and that includes interesting perspectives about how the carrier can still grow the business.

Recent Forrester research has shown that certain emerging insurance markets like the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries and parts of the Middle East are weathering the economic storms better than other markets, spelling a good growth opportunity. But global expansion even into established markets such as Western Europe is challenging because carriers have to answer questions like:

•    Should we grow in new markets organically or acquire a local carrier?
•    What regional markets are adjacent to markets we’re already in?
•    What are the pitfalls when it comes to expanding into new markets?
•    Do I need to create local variations for my product and sales-enabling content?
•    What about local and national laws, regulations and business structures —how will they affect my product or and how it’s distributed?

As the Accenture report asserted, these new market expansion plans also have back office and especially IT implications. And while carriers are contemplating a move to Europe or Latin America, Forrester is seeing growing numbers of insurance app vendors looking to break out of their home markets—places such as Canada, Europe and the Middle East—and looking at new business opportunities in the Western Europe and especially the United States.

These core app vendors are clearly targeting the expansion plans of both their in-market carrier clients looking to expand into new geographic markets, as well as new carrier entrants moving into the vendor’s home market. These vendors are touting features such as multi-language and multi-currency support, as well as capabilities that allow a business user to “version” an existing insurance product for the new market.

This changing insurance tech vendor landscape means more choices that carrier IT organizations can consider for policy admin or even investment management, and capabilities that can more readily support overseas expansion.

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