Risk, regulation and restructuring are key issues affecting the global insurance industry, according to a new study.

State Street surveyed more than 300 insurance industry executives for the report, entitled, Facing the Future: Blueprint for Growth.

“While our research indicates that insurance firms are confident in their outlook, they face a complex set of decisions. Those firms that can successfully reposition themselves will have a significant opportunity to gain a competitive edge,” said Joe Antonellis, vice chairman of State Street.

The study, conducted jointly with The Economist Intelligence Unit, found that insurers are confronting new areas of risk, as 49 percent are prioritizing allocations to alternative strategies within the next 12 months. Seventy-nine percent of respondents reported that investing in alternatives is a challenge for their firm.

Adapting to evolving regulations poses additional challenges, the study found. International expansion further complicates this challenge. Many firms are focused on global expansion, however 82 percent are concerned about their ability to navigate multiple jurisdictions and regulatory regimes.

With changing demographics, firms must pursue younger consumers if they want to grow. Traditional distribution models are breaking down, according to the survey, and the Internet is becoming a key sales channel. Eighty-one percent of respondents said that adapting distribution strategies to changing demographics is a challenge. Also, 93 percent see restructuring product offerings to bring new, innovative products to market quickly as a challenge.

“The need to revamp products, overhaul distribution strategies and target new customers adds further complexity to challenges of risk, regulation and restructuring,” said Antonellis. “While there are certainly headwinds facing the industry, there is still significant room for growth and improvement of profitability. That is a very good thing for the insurance industry.”