Solution Partner Views
Smart Steps Insure Your Digital Future
For insurance pros, today is the “age of engagement,” with digitally savvy customers setting a high bar for service. They expect a personalized customer experience, including conveniences such as mobile products and real-time policy alerts. But in an industry historically reliant on data and paper, reaching this bar is challenge.
While as much as 74 percent of insurers believe that some part of their business is at risk of disruption from competitive insurtech startups, nearly 70 percent are struggling to define their own plan for digital transformation.
For example, less than one-third of life insurance carriers and about 40 percent of P&C carriers allow customers to initiate transactions in one channel and complete them in another. This demonstrates opportunity, as the competitive landscape is proving to favor insurers with digitally integrated channels and systems. Achieving clarity and confidence in a digital strategy is going to be different from firm to firm, yet there are a few consistent, concrete steps that can help uncover your top priorities for digital transformation.
Uncover and assess your firm`s digital maturity
Where do you begin to identify operations that need improvement? A process maturity model provides an ideal framework for this exploration, helping firms assess digital maturity across the organization.
No matter where your firm lands on this spectrum, optimal transformation begins and ends with the customer. To ensure this line of thinking, be sure to expand the endpoint of your end-to-end process assessment, including both front- and back-office operations in your evaluation. For example, digitizing the experience from initial customer engagement all the way through policy maintenance and claims processing keeps the customer at the center of process.
Prioritize digital engagement based on customer needs as well as company culture
Once you identify problem areas, what becomes a priority for digital transformation? A business process matrix [M3] helps firms focus on core business functions, recognizing opportunities for digital transformation within each stage of the insurance lifecycle. Initial priorities should center on operations offering the greatest potential impact on your results and/or your largest customer base.
Consider the five common steps that consistently occur within each business function:
- initiating processes,
- collecting data,
- evaluating requests,
- interacting with customers, and
- completing and closing the process.
As you move through this exercise, look for intersections where:
- Customers make decisions about the type of company you are
- Competition might evaluate the kind of threat you present
- Your actions can influence these decisions among both customers and competitors
This exercise should help your firm drill down, evaluating operations from customer engagement and communications to product lines, market requirements, regulation and compliance. This should also include online and mobile channels, collaboration strategy and future vision. As you recognize opportunities, it is also critical to consider your firm`s general culture. How welcome is the idea of full digital immersion?
Whether or not the concept is readily embraced makes a difference in how effectively plans can be executed. Just be sure to allow company personality to play a role in the transition, in order to keep the process comfortable and productive. Even small wins can add powerful strategic value, particularly if they keep timelines moving and reduce resistance to internal change.
Choose smart tools to execute a long-term plan
As your firm`s vision becomes clear based on assessing digital maturity and prioritizing opportunities for transformation, the next task is to evaluate digital options best-suited to your specific needs. For instance, is Mobile Capture first on your list? Consider the example of Progressive Casualty Insurance, a U.S. carrier that was early to market with a mobile photo quotation function. By 2013, a large number (nearly one in five) of Progressive`s customers had their first company interaction through a mobile device. When the firm launched mobile photo quoting in one state alone, overall quoting activity was uplifted by eight percent.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is another option, creating a digital workforce that eliminates manual, repetitive tasks that reduce productivity and result in costly errors. By improving processes, these smart software robots enhance the customer experience based on operations that are consistent and streamlined. For example, insurers can now capitalize on automated entry or retrieval of information from any system, including applying sophisticated business logic to transform data, handle exceptions, and make better-informed business decisions. Adding further value to insurance operations, RPA facilitates price matching, coverage comparisons and customer call center efficiencies; the technology can also streamline claims processing and ensure regulatory compliance.
On a more personal note, employees who work with this detailed data are typically happier in a professional setting that eliminates repetitive, data gathering activities. Keep in mind that claims examiners, underwriters, and knowledge workers navigate multiple decision points throughout the lifecycle of an insurance policy—even as the information driving these decisions is often scattered among multiple internal and external systems, databases, and websites. Hunting for information from these sources takes time, increases costs, and adds complexity to business operations. By using RPA, these professionals can instead focus on the more productive and satisfying aspects of their jobs.
Other options may include Process Intelligence, which offers a new take on analytics by helping insurers understand and remedy bottlenecks in business workflows in real time; or Customer Communications Management (CCM), which strengthens customer relationships with automated services such as near-real time tracking and status updates, alerts and personalized communications. Case Management can be integrated with CCM, increasing efficiency and profits with the support of systems such as Business Process Management (BPM) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM). Together these solutions convert paper documents to digital versions, track case status, assign and re-direct workflow, and enable collaboration in a seamless decision-making process.
Wowing customers as a business strategy
With these sophisticated technologies readily available, it`s essential to evaluate and define a path to digital transformation before your competitors beat you to the punch. Today`s customers are looking to be wowed – it is the age of engagement after all.
Consider the opportunity in context. One of your competitors (a global insurer) recently developed a mobile app allowing corporate plan members to submit insurance claims, locate nearby clinics and compare treatment costs quickly and easily, at their convenience. As a result, claims processing time has been reduced by 50 percent, and the firm generated nearly 4,000 member registrations on the app in its first 90 days.
In another scenario, an insurer`s move to digital automation resulted in 70 percent of files being able to be processed without human intervention. The firm`s high degree of automation speeds cycle times and reduces error rates, boosting efficiency and ensuring staff work with accurate information.
These are inspiring business advantages, but they start with digital strategy and infrastructure. Today, it`s critical to be among the 35 percent of insurers that are heavily investing in digital technologies as part of their overall business strategy, or the 29 percent that are investing in selected business units only. Why not walk through the Business Process Matrix as a starting point? It`s a smart step to insuring a digital future customized to your priorities, culture and customer base.