Global Winning Strategies - Q&A with ACORD CEO, William Pieroni


ACORD’s annual flagship event, ACORD Connect, is taking place October 10-11 this year in New Orleans. What are some of the ways that ACORD Connect supports innovation in InsurTech and the insurance industry?

WP: At ACORD Connect, we’ll be holding the final round of the 2018 ACORD InsurTech Innovation Challenge. The AIIC was the first insurance-specific innovation competition, and we see more impressive pitches every year. This year we’re focusing strictly on startups in the insurance technology space, and awarding approximately $150,000 worth of prizes.

Each year I also deliver a CEO keynote address, presenting the results of our research on performance drivers in our rapidly changing industry. Insurance is currently dealing with a number of transformational factors which have the potential to create new market leaders and drive long-standing incumbents out of business. In last year’s Life and P&C Value Creation studies, we saw for the first time the impact of years of investment in technology and process improvements. In fact, in the Life space, insurers who pursued technology-led innovation as a primary strategy had significantly better than average returns versus those companies pursuing other strategies.


What will be the focus of this year’s keynote presentation?

WP:  This year, I’ll be presenting the ACORD Global Insurance Marketplace Study. It will examine both Life and Property & Casualty markets globally, with a focus on identifying winning strategies and the capabilities required for successful execution. We’ll identify and examine strategies in the context of market type – mature, developing, and emerging – as well as line of business. 


What types of information are you collecting and analyzing for the study, and what are the key questions you hope to answer?

WP:  The study leverages ten years of data across 90 countries and more than 8,500 insurers. It will segment global insurance markets across insurance GDP growth and penetration, and identify high-performing carriers by type within each country. Winning carriers will then be examined in detail to determine strategies and differentiating capabilities. Through the intersection of market type, strategies, and capabilities, we’ll identify execution imperatives for carriers operating within and across these markets.

Through the analysis we will answer the following three key questions:

  1. Which strategy is most often employed by successful insurance companies? Do market types require winners to leverage some strategies more than others?
  2. What are the capability characteristics of winning carriers...process, organization and technology?
  3. What are the “no regret” moves insurance companies can employ regardless of strategic intent or market type?


What are some of the key strategic insights you expect to uncover through this research?

WP: We hypothesize that only four distinct strategies drive success across the global insurance industry: operational excellence, customer intimacy, product leadership, and innovation. Regardless of which strategy insurers employ, success is highly dependent on execution capacity. A key differentiator is the ability to attract, develop, and retain talent. Also, there are a distinct set of “no regret” moves which focus on technology and process, including ongoing investment to sustain continual renewal and support strategic flexibility and operational adaptability. Through the study, we expect to be able to highlight execution imperatives that any organization in the insurance space will find valuable and actionable.

William Pieroni

William Pieroni is President and CEO of ACORD. Prior to his appointment in 2016, Mr. Pieroni served as the Global Chief Operating Officer of Marsh and was responsible for the firm’s global operations. Additionally, he was the Chief Technology and Transformation Officer across the Risk and Insurance Segment. Prior to joining Marsh, Mr. Pieroni was Senior Vice President and part of the Office of the Chairman at State Farm. Prior to that, he served as Aon’s Senior Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer with global responsibility for operations across retail, wholesale and reinsurance brokerage. His extensive insurance and financial services background also includes General Manager of IBM’s insurance business, a partner at Accenture and consultant with McKinsey & Company. Mr. Pieroni earned his Bachelor of Science in accounting with University Honors & Distinction from the University of Illinois. He also received his M.B.A. with Highest Distinction, and was named a Baker Scholar from Harvard University School of Business Administration.