Insurers are ready to embrace technology to achieve competitive advantage, according to Deb Smallwood, founder of Strategy Meets Action.

“Insurance companies will make major moves in response to external demands and the profound changes that are defining the 21st century – taking bold steps forward on the journey to the future state, to becoming a next-generation insurer,” Smallwood said. “This is the year we'll see transformation and innovation take a firm hold in insurance.”

In fact, 87 percent of insurers have some level of innovation underway in their companies, according to SMA. “The core investments that have been made over the past few years will begin to pay back big dividends,” Smallwood said. “A modern business and technology platform will facilitate easy plug and play of next-gen technologies.”

Every year, as part of an ongoing series, SMA identifies five next-generation technologies as the top insurer investment priorities (in order of greatest business impact for the industry):

1. Analytics and big data: Half of all insurers (49 percent) plan to increase their spending by more than 10 percent per year in 2014 and 2015.

2. Mobile technologies: Eighty-one percent of insurers plan to increase spending on mobile projects in 2014.

3. Collaboration technologies: Currently, 51 percent are using chat, and another 27 percent are piloting chat capabilities.

4. Cloud computing: Forty percent are using cloud for infrastructure and non-core services, while 33 percent are using a cloud approach for core systems.

5. Telematics: Insurers expect about one-third of the North American auto market to be using UBI products by 2020.

This article was originally published by Insurance Networking News. In an INN-exclusive video series throughout January, Smallwood will detail each of the five technologies — the current landscape of the technology, opportunities and challenges that come with the technology and action items for insurers. Check back with INNTV next week for the first installment on analytics.

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