The 'Go Digital' Imperative for Insurers
A recent survey by PwC reveals that insurance leaders foresee a major turnover at the top of the insurance Industry. 35% of insurers think that ‘the industry landscape will largely stay the same, but players will change substantially in the coming decade.’ Additionally, 44% believe that ‘most existing insurers will not survive, at least in their current form.’ This means that insurers need to work hard to drastically change their current form, to survive and even grow exponentially.
A holistic approach needs to be formulated through the following:
- adoption of a customer-centric business model, from a product-centric model
- being agile and delivering personalized services, through innovative products, on-time, on-demand service at a location and channel of choice
- working within regulated environments, while being innovative
- proactively adopt to change and introduce technology to optimize cost efficiency
Insurer will soon be under intense pressure as they will be underwriting new risks, for which historical loss data will not be available. They will also not have the benefit to manage their risks through probability of large numbers, as adoption by consumers will be fast and so will be the evolution of newer risks. This may increase loss and place a financial burden on insurers who usually struggle to make underwriting profits and maintain solvency.
IT services industry is providing ‘Going Digital’ as one of the solutions to this problem of coping with the changing and fast-paced insurance industry. Today there is no insurer who has fallen short of adopting ‘a digital path’ to sustain and grow. Though digital is not the only solution, it does provide a strong foundation for insurers to achieve their objective of improving customer experience, profits and reducing expenses.
Let us see what ‘Going Digital’ in insurance is all about:
- 1. Composing an enterprise with a component-based application landscape. Implementing core packaged products like Guidewire, Duck Creek and other surrounding systems are helping insurers achieve this goal. This provides straight-through-processing (STP) and improves back office employee efficiency.
- 2. Enabling self-service opportunities for customers and channel partners, by creating an architecture to expose core services and help in introducing newer service channels quickly. An API led integration architecture is gaining traction to achieve this.
- 3. Providing multi- and omni-channel customer experience and meeting the expectation for 24-hour service through channels such as Portals, Mobile Apps, Kiosks, Social Apps, IoT enabled Apps and others.
- 4. Implementing a Digital Workforce at front and back-office through use of technologies like OCR / ICR, RPA, AI/ML/Cognitive and Intelligent Virtual assistants like Chat & Voice Robots. This helps in increasing STP to 60-70% and beyond
- 5. Building a strong Data Foundation to harness data in a way that large volumes of disparate internal & external information can be accessed, cross referenced and analysed in real time. Technologies like Big data, AI, Blockchain are becoming handy to facilitate this.
- 6. Cloud enablement for core and non-core applications to reduce cost of infrastructure and support
The above levers deliver only 40-50% STP and there is more that insurers need to do. The nature of insurance business is such that it thrives on phone conversations, paper-based manual processes, which are managed outside of the core insurance application. There is thus an opportunity to optimize the business process further by:
This is not possible without having a strong base in the form of data and infrastructure. This further calls for:
While the above recommendations are just a representative point of view for insurers to ‘Go Digital’; it is not an exhaustive checklist to achieve digital transformation. These initiatives may vary based on each company’s vision and strategy to achieve their business objectives.
Happy to learn more from you and share my experiences in this area, over couple of years.