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Technology has transformed how entire industries interact with clients, from executing transactions to communicating quicker to selling products and services. But the benefits of digital transformation have not accrued evenly, positioning some companies as leaders who better understand their customers, have lowered expenses and increased sales and profits, and other companies as laggards who are still struggling to achieve these goals.

XL Catlin sponsored a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytics Services  to identify what differentiates the leaders and the laggards in digital transformation. This study provides a global snapshot of how digital transformation is rolling out across industries. The results show that front-runners in operational transformation via technology may have a significant lead over a larger group of laggards — companies that haven’t wholeheartedly committed to digital transformation or have felt hindered by too many daunting obstacles. But despite slower starts, persistence is prevalent. Eighty percent of those surveyed agree that the biggest risk associated with digital transformation is not embracing it.

No Industry Left Untouched

Technological innovation is certainly having a big impact on our (re)insurance industry. An entire Insurtech movement is developing around us. We’re excited to be an active participant through the investments of our venture capital fund, XL Innovate. Internally we’ve launched Accelerate, a team of XL Catlin experts focused on harnessing our collective knowledge and capabilities to deliver innovative solutions and services that help our clients focus on their core business. This includes the constant evolution of our insurance products — such as cyber coverages — that our clients need to manage the risks associated with technologies that are helping transform their businesses.

In fact, it’s a business’ strategy that needs to lead digital transformation, not the other way around.

Transformative Talent

As this study notes, the right talent drives digital transformation success. Collaborators who understand both the technology and the business to help us connect the dots and achieve our goals using the appropriate technology are key to success. Such talent, combined with other areas of expertise, like underwriting, helps us make full use of data, analytics, and innovation to be a market leader that delivers superior (re)insurance products and services.

Strategy in the Driver’s Seat

No two companies will benefit from the same digital strategy. In fact, it’s a business’ strategy that needs to lead digital transformation, not the other way around. Otherwise, all we are doing is following shiny objects. Adoption of new technologies has to be driven by business goals; it has to be implemented, not just for its own sake, but because using it is going to help businesses achieve their vision.

Keeping a Steady Pace

Digital transformation takes considerable time and investment. We certainly intend to keep the steady pace of our own digital transformation. Throughout history we’ve seen plenty of come-from-behind victories. Today’s digital transformation laggards could be tomorrow’s leaders. If we learn from each other, seek out the right talent, and keep our digital transformation plans aligned with our strategies, we’ll continue moving in the right direction.

Download the XL Catlin-Sponsored Global Survey on the State of Digital Transformation:

Operationalizing Digital Transformation:  New Insights into Making Digital Transformation Work— from Harvard Business Review Analytics Services.

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  • President,Property & Casualty,XL Catlin
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