Accenture: Two-thirds of insurance execs expect wearables to impact industry

By Aditi Pai
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Two thirds of insurance company executives said they expect wearable technologies to have a significant impact on the insurance industry, according to an Accenture survey of 200 insurance company execs. They survey included perspectives from all types of insurance companies, not just health insurance.

The survey found that 63 percent think wearables will be widely adopted by the insurance industry in the next two years. Some 31 percent said that their companies are already using wearables to engage customers, employees, or partners. Additionally, 73 percent of respondents said that offering members a personalized experience is one of their top three priorities and 50 percent said they have seen a positive return on their investment in personalized 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,” Accenture's Senior Managing Director of the company's global insurance practice, John Cusano, said in a statement. “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.”

The insurer that Cusano referenced is probably John Hancock Insurance, which created just such a life insurance incentive program in partnership with connected wellness company The Vitality Group, a US subsidiary of South Africa’s Discovery Health.

Respondents also said that they are having trouble managing the large amounts of data they are receiving from members. Over half of respondents, 56 percent, said managing data is “extremely” or “very challenging” and 86 percent said software intelligence will be important if they want to simplify their IT function.

In the next two years, a majority of respondents said they plan to partner with another company as part of a digital initiative. Just over half, 51 percent of respondents, said they plan to partner with digital technology and cloud platform companies, 64 percent said they want to engage with digital partners within the insurance industry, and 45 percent aim to find partners for their digital initiative outside the insurance industry.