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Interview with Mr Roberto Libonati


Roberto, considering the global pandemic situation that has  been very difficult for people and industries alike, how do  you see the future of the insurance industry generally?  What are the challenges? 

Despite a year of recessionary conditions and upended risk models,  our analyses show the global insurance market is heading toward  significant growth over the next 5 years. Amid that growth, we  see new and shifting revenue pools. Insurers will need to innovate  for competitive advantage in this new revenue landscape while  building resilience into their businesses and products. For an  insurer, the best ways to gain advantage and differentiate the  products offering is to include high-quality services, provide end to  end experience to clients, and avoid the commoditization approach.  Also, insurers should provide advisory services to clients during  difficult times, such as the pandemic we are now facing.  

What are those new revenue pools you see in the insurance business?

We see new opportunities in four areas. First is in health,  wellness, and life products and services. Then in technology  integration within traditional products, and a shift to alternative  distribution – like big tech, manufacturers and insurtechs – and  direct sales of small commercial insurance. The last area  involves products and services addressing new exposures,  such as climate change and cyber threats.  

Can you be more specific? 

For example, the area of health, wellness, and life products is  constantly shifting, but right now two segments stand out as  potential opportunities for insurers. By 2050, one in four persons  living in Europe and Northern America could be aged 65 or over.  With improvements in science, medicine, and health habits,  this generation is living longer, too. Innovative new products  and services as part of a partner ecosystem could help insurers  better serve seniors, grow revenues, and delay the need for life,  disability, and longer-term care claims. The second segment  concerns the generation known as Millennials. They are also  interesting because they are increasingly willing to share personal  data when they get something in return.  

How can consumers benefit from sharing their data with insurers?

Rewards for data sharing could come in the form of reduced  premiums or in the form of real-time health and wellness  guidance based on user attributes or behavior data. Policyholders  who can receive timely medical interventions through early  symptoms identification are a good example. Also, digital health  coaches can offer real-time advice based on biomarker  monitoring for healthier habits. With such willingness of  the younger generation to share personal information, insurers  can narrow risk pools more accurately and tailor the  personalized offers that consumers are demanding.  

It seems to me technology is playing a major role in this…

You are right. From auto to home to health, technology is changing  not only the way insurers do business but also the very products  and services they offer. This is the case with the integration of  technology into existing products. Internet of Things (IoT) sensors  

are creating new ways to track, price, and promote health, home  safety, and security. At the same time, I want to emphasize that  technology and digital experience should be properly combined  with a human touch, because that will remain essential to client  service. Also, technology allows for increased personalization of  products, services, and rates, but insurers need to be prepared  to operate on the right platforms and with the right partners to  enable that personalization. 

How important is the role of partnership? Isn’t technology  adoption something that organizations can do alone?

From our experience, the multifunctional challenges that  companies face require them to select partners that can bring  the proper set of skills, so that the two sides of the partnership  complement one another, as well as partners having geographic  reach that can enable connections with the different markets  where the companies operate. I can give you a concrete example  that involves cloud adoption: according to one of our researches,  nearly two-thirds of companies aren’t achieving the expected  benefits of cloud migration. When we examined what may  be holding businesses back in driving their cloud agendas and  achieving their goals, “lack of skills” was most frequently included  in the top three barriers as perceived by CEOs. 


Where do you see the role of Accenture consultants in  helping companies unlock the value and overcome those  perceived barriers? 

We can harness our unique expertise at the intersection of business  and technology – to help tailor a strategy that fits and to uncover  the right technology for a client’s toughest business problems.  Our advantage is that we understand our clients’ businesses in the  context of their industries, and, because our teams are connected  through our industry networks, we can bring insights and  experience from other industries. 

Coming back to partnership, we have heard about a recent project  where Accenture partnered with Generali. What is that about?

Together, we’ve created a joint venture called Group Operations  Service Platform (GOSP) that will leverage cloud technologies  and shared technology platforms to accelerate innovation and  digitization. The new solutions will support Generali Group in  improving operational efficiencies and profitability, achieve  cost savings, and enhance service quality to meet the digital  expectations of customers, agents, and employees.  

What can we expect in the next year from a business perspective? 

As we discussed, technology is going to play an important role.  Sustainability, too. Our research confirms that leading companies  that scaled technology innovation during COVID-19 are growing  revenue five times faster than are lagging adopters. And companies  that combine sustainability with technology are two and a half  times more likely to be leaders in the future. But as I mentioned  in the cloud example, it is not just about technology itself,  but rather about how you use it. Last, but not least, we expect  to see selected mergers and acquisitions as a possible lever for  growth where there is complementarity and the possibility to  reach a market-relevant size. 


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