Insurance firms adopting wearables to get closer to customers, says Accenture

Nearly two-thirds of insurers expect wearable technologies to have a "significant impact" on their industry, according to international research from Accenture.

Consulting firm Accenture questioned 220 insurance firms and found that 63 percent believed that wearable technologies will be "adopted broadly" by the insurance industry within the next two years, while nearly one-third (31 percent) said they are already using wearables to engage customers, employees or partners.

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of insurers said that providing a personalised customer experience was one of their top three priorities within the organisation, and half (50 percent) claim to have already seen a positive return from their investment in personalised technologies.

"While insurers have traditionally based their underwriting and pricing processes on a limited view of certain customer variables, emerging technologies such as wearables and other connected devices can help insurers break from their traditional business models and provide outcome-based services for their customers," said John Cusano, senior managing director of Accenture's global insurance practice.

"For instance, one leading insurer recently announced that it will provide new policyholders with a free fitness band to track their health progress - and then reward their healthy living with a reduction in life insurance premiums."

However, access to large volumes of new data is also causing insurers some challenges, as the survey found that most insurers struggle to fully use their existing data. More than half (56 percent) said that managing data is "extremely" or "very challenging" considering the changes in volume, variety and velocity. At the same time, nearly nine in 10 respondents (86 percent) said they believe that software intelligence will be integral to simplifying their IT function.

The Accenture insurance industry report concludes that as the "intelligent enterprise" is making machines smarter - embedding software intelligence into every aspect of its business - these machines can help insurers get more value out of the scale of information in big data and discover associations among the data that an individual might not be able to make.

The survey found that two-thirds (66 percent) of insurers said they experiment with intelligence technology, and three-quarters (76 percent) said they believe that successful businesses will soon manage employees alongside intelligent machines.


Antony Savvas

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