Property Casualty Insurance Research Outlook 2021

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Our research agenda this quarter focuses on issues related to digital transformation. We’ll look at the architectural changes that support digital transformation, new tools and technologies available to support underwriting, services available to help insurers manage this transformation, and we’ll include some primary research of independent agencies. Emerging technologies and data and analytics are also key themes we’ll be focusing on. And of course, it wouldn’t be 2021 without a look at the implications of COVID-19.

Celent is committed to helping our clients assess the technology implications across the financial system, from changes in customer behavior to new strategies and technologies required to respond to this upended world. We’re in touch with financial institutions and their technology partners around the world and are developing a host of new perspectives, updated regularly, to help you make the right strategic technology choices in the medium- and longer term. Our clients have access to our insights through traditional ways – reports, blogs, Analyst Access – and new media, like interactive virtual roundtables and snap polls.

Because Celent is part of a larger organization, Oliver Wyman and Marsh & McClennan Companies (MMC), you have access to our collective thought leadership in areas ranging from epidemiology (Oliver Wyman), to economic modelling (Oliver Wyman), to risk/ crisis management (Marsh), and human resource implications (Mercer).

One thing is certain: none of us can go it alone. As you face hard decisions in the areas of technology and partnerships, Celent is here to support you. We can help you vet partners and technologies as you respond to the changing needs of your customers, new market opportunities, and growing cost pressures.


2020 was a year like no other. With a global pandemic, economic turmoil and political disruption, insurers had change coming at them from all directions. While we saw an initial retrenching early in the year, once insurers ran through the scenarios and felt more confident in their ability to handle future change, we saw technology investments accelerate – especially in those areas focused on customer communications and the use of data.

For 2021, we believe new technology investments will continue to be directed towards three major themes:

  • Digital transformation: digitizing channels to grow sales and deliver an engaging customer experience remains a major topic on property casualty insurers’ agenda. New tools and capabilities for digitizing other processes such as claims and underwriting are major areas of emphasis. A wide variety of technologies will be deployed here to accelerate transformation.
  • Data, analytics and artificial intelligence: deploying data and artificial intelligence techniques continues to be one of the most important strategies for property casualty insurers looking to improve the fundamentals of their business, whether underwriting, claims or marketing. Artificial intelligence will increasingly become a core part of a typical project and no longer an exercise in “innovation”. Understanding new techniques, technologies and the governance of those will be critical for insurers moving down this path.
  • Legacy and ecosystem transformation: rationalizing the application architecture using new techniques to advance productivity helps insurers improve efficiency of their information systems and decrease the cost to maintain their system landscape. The use of micro services, the move to the cloud, and changing processes within an organization each create new opportunities for insurers.


Optimizing core insurance processes via smart automation and offering customers digital interaction touch points have been a focus of property casualty insurers. The lockdown period and the need to maintain social distance demonstrated that online and remote interactions are an important tool in maintaining customer relationships. As insurers continue to build out their ecosystem leveraging APIs and emerging technology providers, insurers continue to put the digitization of the customer experience at the center of their efforts.

In 2021, we will continue our exploration of insurers digital transformation initiatives through case studies focusing on customer experience transformation, digital and emerging technologies notably as part of our 2021 Model Insurer program. We will also examine how property casualty insurers are using new technologies to digitize key functions such as underwriting, claims and marketing and the technologies that can be used to accelerate this.


Data, analytics, and artificial intelligence are technologies where property casualty insurers continue to increase their investments. We believe this area will continue to explode over the next several years. The usage of legacy data sources combined with new alternative data sources are transforming underwriting, claims and marketing. In 2020, we expanded our coverage of new technology domains in relation to data and Artificial Intelligence such as MLOps.

Our objective for 2021 will be to publish deeper insights on how property casualty insurers leverage new analytical technologies to improve their business. We will look at how specific technologies such as geospatial; speech and image recognition; and natural language understanding, generation and processing; can have a major impact on property casualty insurers’ processes and provide examples through case studies.


Despite some delays and cost reduction programs being put in place early on following the COVID outbreak, we anticipate a continued focus on efficient software delivery, leading to greater cloud adoption levels, greater use of open source, the use of low code/no code platforms and a greater use of agile techniques. The days of multi-year multi-million transformation projects, although still in existence today, are somewhat numbered as insurers look for faster delivery timescales at lower price points. But many property casualty insurers still have to deal with the legacy challenge.

Insurers understand they will have to modernize their legacy systems sooner or later. Key questions to address include:

  • How should insurers evaluate implementation choices? When should they consider a big bang full replacement or a wave by wave approach?
  • How can technologies such as the cloud, APIs, microservices, DevOps help insurers build a cost-efficient and easy-to-maintain ecosystem environment?
  • What solutions offered on the market can help them create their target architecture? Which IT services vendors can help make their legacy modernization program a success?

In 2021, our objective is to provide more insights to our subscribers on property casualty insurers’ approaches to modernize the legacy environment, the technologies at play and the vendors that can be relevant partners in this exciting journey.


In our 15th annual Model Insurer program, from close to 100 nominations of exceptionally high quality, we recognized 18 winners on March 11th at our annual Innovation and Insight event.

We published detailed case studies for each winning initiative in five technology categories:

  • Customer experience transformation,
  • Data, analytics and Artificial Intelligence,
  • Digital and emerging technologies,
  • Innovation execution, and
  • Legacy and eco-system transformation.

All of the Model Insurer 2021 case studies are accessible here.

Contact us for more information about what we have planned in Q2.

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