Insurance CFOs seek larger digital role

Chief financial officers at insurance companies are more likely to desire a leading role in managing data strategy, according to a survey from Accenture.

The CFO Reimagined survey, which reached more than 700 financial leaders across industries, found that insurance CFOs are “significantly more likely than those in other sectors to say that finance should take a leading role in identifying and managing control of the most critical data.” Fifty-seven percent of insurance CFOs agreed with the statement, more than 10% higher than the next-nearest sector.

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Accenture says that can be attributed to the traditional importance of data to these functions in insurance, especially combined with the complexity of accounting, reporting and forecasting. However, traditional methods for doing so are being upended by a massive influx of new data that CFOs will have to manage and figure out how to incorporate into their processes. With more than a third of insurers believing the finance function should be responsible for developing best practices in data combination, “we expect this proportion to increase as insurers start to work with larger and larger volumes of external data,” Accenture says.

That means applying analytics to data sets, and CFOs want to be involved there as well. Insurance is one of the top three sectors surveyed in applying AI in finance; it is also more likely to use machine learning on data sets.

However, CFOs find themselves struggling to get the talent they need to grow the use of advanced data and analytics, the survey found.

“Adopting AI and ‘borrowing’ talent can help to overcome this challenge, but to compete with otherindustries CFOs in insurance should consider how they can inspire a wider range of talent to enter the industry,” Accenture writes.

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