Eight in ten insurance executives across the world will look to acquisitions and partnerships in search of growth over the next three years, a new survey has found.
Transforming business models will be the key driver behind the majority of these deals, according to three-fifths of insurance executives, while one-fifth want to enhance their current models.
This comes amid a backdrop of sluggish growth for the industry, with new agile competition thought to be driving insurers to seek expertise from outside their own organisations.
"They know they can't rely just on organic growth to meet their objectives," said Laura Hay, head of global insurance for KPMG International, which carried out the research.
"So alliances and acquisitions become essential as insurers look to engage with customers in different ways, and gain access to innovative operating capabilities and technology infrastructure."
In terms of geography, it was found that 66% of insurance executives expect to conduct cross-border deals, with just one-third expecting to enter into deals within their own country.
North America, particularly the US, is widely expected to experience the most acquisitions over the next three years, with the Asia-Pacific presenting the most opportunities for partnerships.
Western Europe is expected to drive relatively more divestment activity.
Despite expecting to see more partnerships and acquisitions, it was found that just 10% of executives think they are "extremely likely" to find a deal that is a strategic fit with their business model.
Moreover, a majority believe that their organisation's capabilities for deal sourcing, evaluation and execution are lagging, with KPMG urging firms to set up venture capital teams.
Just 18% of the insurers surveyed said they already had such a team or were planning to establish one, despite their top-ranked objective being transformational acquisitions.
"Transformation is not a 'one-and-done' event," KPMG global head of insurance deal advisory, Ram Menon said. "Insurers need to redefine deal success, from acquisition strategy to integration execution, and more importantly, resist short-term thinking."