The events of recent years have created a challenging business environment that has disrupted traditional industries in unprecedented ways. Digital innovation has introduced new possibilities, and technology-led projects are flourishing across every sector.
As insurers look ahead, the bright, yet demanding future will be shaped by three key disrupters: customers, innovators, and regulators. Today, customers are driving a radical shift from traditional to digital channels, innovators are changing long-standing models through the creation of new services, and regulators are introducing new legislation to ensure privacy and streamline solutions in the light of this new wave of innovation.
These trends are certain to continue and as they unfold, they will set the scene for a scenario where growth is generated through personalized, experience-based models and newfound data capabilities, supported by robust operational efficiency.
Alongside the gains and efficiencies made possible through advancing technology, issues can arise, particularly as many players still rely on outdated legacy systems. This rapid growth in opportunities will not be shared evenly. Those companies that move swiftly and decisively are likely to flourish, those who lag behind will find it increasingly challenging to generate meaningful outcomes.
Customers want the same level of service from insurance providers as they do from Amazon, Netflix, Uber, and others; they want their experiences to be flawless, fast, and simple and presented in a contemporary user experience. To compete, companies will need to rethink how they interact with their customers. This can often prove to be a pain point for insurers.
One approach that is proving applicable to a wide range of industries is the creation of an evolving digital ecosystem. Customer-enriched 360 degree-views are replacing siloed data, personalized and adaptive journeys powered by decisioning capabilities will result in a smoother, more engaging process for customers. The result of these changes is a durable relationship between the insurer and their individual clients, based on trust, convenience, and mutual value creation.
Targeted tactics will help insurers focus their marketing and sales efforts on the most impactful outcomes. For example, the customer’s journey from prospect to signing can be aligned with the underwriting strategy for each product line and engaging cross and upsell opportunities can be presented at the right moment to the right audience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a major driver of data generation. Correctly analyzed and applied, this wealth of data has the potential to both predict and prevent risks. Whether for companies, their suppliers, manufacturers or firms further down the supply chain, all the way to individuals, the range and impact of IoT-driven risk prevention capabilities present huge opportunities for insurance firms to enable more efficient value-chain management, to create secure workplaces and to support healthier lifestyles and safer behaviors for the benefit of society and business. IoT also offers new opportunities for insurers to expand their offerings and to connect directly and more frequently with their clients, all of which will further boost their customer experience strategy.
IoT and data-driven prevention services will fundamentally alter the paradigm within the insurance business. Tech companies can and should support the shift, by co-creating technology-driven prevention services with insurers and being actively involved in the accompanying business transformation.
IT systems must support the insurer’s business and operating models in becoming more agile in order to respond to continuously evolving customer expectations, the changing environment and regulatory requirements. This cannot be done without addressing legacy IT systems, which pose several issues, including incompatibility with new technologies, inefficient performance, and increased compliance and security risks.
Well-planned steps toward modernization will ensure budgets are not exceeded and there is no risk to business continuity. An efficient, structured process will unlock new financial outcomes, and enhance operational efficiency. Streamlining and automating processes, leveraging advanced technologies such as robotization, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Optical Character Recognition (OCR), machine learning, application programming interface (API) economy, and superior data visualization, will not only improve workflows, increase productivity and service quality, but will also enable the organization to focus on higher-value missions, to reduce operational risks and ensure greater security and compliance with regulations.
Whether IT systems become a hindrance, or a prominent driver of operational excellence and business growth depends on the company’s vision and strategy. In today’s environment, insurers that build out their technological capabilities with targeted or large-scale solutions will secure their place in the insurance industry’s bright future. The time to act is now.
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