Jamie Yoder is its President and CEO Sapiens North America.
Most industries today are in the midst of a digital revolution, where core workplace processes are changing to accommodate digital advances and workers are learning to work alongside machines in new ways.
Insurance is no exception.
Business models have always had to change with the times, which they often do rapid development even during the lifetime of a single organism. But today, digital transformation seems even faster and more disruptive than ever, and adapting to such rapid change can be challenging, to say the least.
Here are four steps insurers should take to maintain a competitive edge as they try to adapt in the face of continued digitization.
1. Change the means of engagement
Digitization has reshaped customer expectations – consumers today want service anywhere, anytime and to monitor processes every step of the way. Accordingly, insurers must change the way they approach customer engagement.
In the past, customer engagement in the insurance industry began and ended with the occasional face-to-face meeting or phone call. But as insurance evolves, providers must approach each offer as an end-to-end journey. Every step of the insurance process—even those that don’t directly involve customer contact—should be designed with customer engagement and visibility in mind: from marketing to onboarding, closing a new contract to submitting and handling a claim.
If insurers can improve users’ abilities to navigate and engage in any aspect along the insurance value chain, they are more likely to meet their expectations and close sales. Adopting digital tools throughout the customer journey allows insurers to do just that—put information directly into customers’ hands, anytime, anywhere.
2. Change the way you work
The reality is that digitization makes the tasks of workers easier. But instead of replacing hardworking people (a common misconception), it frees them up for greater productivity and creativity in other tasks.
Once the manual aspects of the business are automated, insurers can begin the process”information”, according to which business tasks are continuously made more efficient through data analysis, giving new insights into processes, bringing new value.
The real opportunity for growth lies in improving the decision-making processes in the organization (information), not just improving the steps of each business process (automation only). It’s important to remember that innovation today—especially in a consumer-focused industry like insurance—stems from the ability to collect, interpret, and strategically apply consumer information.
3. Change the way we work with others
Optimization in insurance has historically been confined to specific silos. Today, the emphasis must be on bridging these divides, enabling the endless flow of information — between internal teams and external partners or users. Facilitating this movement of information across the ecosystem will ultimately optimize efficiency across the value chain and customer experience.
Part of this evolution will require insurers to form partnerships or make investments with other companies and startups. Creating a mutually beneficial data flow between ecosystem players, competitors or not, can help insurers reach new audiences, expand product offerings and improve service at every stage of the customer journey.
Take a use case: a “total loss”. These claims are often bogged down by complex issues related to the identification of the lien holder of the asset and the title procurement process in a given geography. In this case, working with other industry partners facilitates a more efficient exchange of information between different parties, helping to integrate new digital tools and eliminate any friction. Doing so can shorten the claims process by weeks, speeding it up the time to sell the vehicle for the insurer and the time to settlement for the customer.
This collaboration across the ecosystem becomes even more critical as new insurers develop increasingly specialized offerings.
4. Change the way you change
Arguably the most important agent of change for the future? Insurers must adapt to change by shifting the mindset across the organization around agility and innovation.
Even before insurers chart a course for digital transformation, it can be beneficial to start by embracing tools to help along the way, such as robotic process automation (RPA) and application programming interfaces (APIs), which help integrate legacy type and emerging systems. Other platforms, such as those that capture and manage business logic, can enable business analysts to easily automate, test, and continuously evolve how decisions are made across the organization. Underpinning all of this is the ongoing journey to cloud applications and services that businesses of all shapes and sizes must undertake as they look to the future.
For insurers looking to ride the wave of digital transformation, there has never been a better time to break the barriers of traditional systems and seek innovation in every aspect of their offerings.