PwC have today released results from their 19th Annual Global Survey of more than 1,400 CEOs, which includes responses from 101 CEOs in the insurance sector in 43 countries.
An overwhelming majority (79%) cite data and analytics and 76% cite relationship management systems as providing the greatest potential contribution to improving engagement with customers.
The report indicates that technology is also creating new benchmarks for customer experience, response and cost by making it easier for customers to judge and compare insurers against their competitors.
For insurance firms, the ability to meet these challenges is often hampered by slow and unwieldy legacy systems and traditional ways of working.
Nearly 70% of insurance CEOs see the speed of technological change as a threat to growth and more than 60% are concerned about shifts in consumer spending and behaviour.
Furthermore, only 28% of insurance CEOs now believe the global economy will improve over the coming year, reflecting a dip in optimism. Interestingly, whilst 38% of insurance CEOs are very confident about their ability to increase revenues, this is down from 44% in 2015.
Seventy per cent of insurers are planning to implement a cost cutting initiative over the next 12 months and technology is the trend insurance CEOs see as most likely to transform customer expectations over the next five years.
Director at PwC Ireland Insurance Practice, Ronan Mulligan says, "If insurers are to meet the real business challenges of delivering profitability in a changing market then regulation needs to come down the priority list."
He added, "CEOs and regulators will need to find a way to deliver the necessary level of regulation and oversight at an acceptable cost to the business model. If they can't, then their responsiveness to the changing needs of the customer will be slower."