5 essential technologies insurers need to transform their businesses

It’s no secret that digital technologies have the potential to lead to significant changes and real benefits for insurance organizations. Carriers are using digital technologies to reduce manual intervention, improve quality, speed processing — and redeploy their workforce to handle more complex tasks, ultimately improving customer service and satisfaction.

Insurers that started their digital transformations early are already seeing benefits across the entire enterprise. They are gaining efficiencies, optimizing processes, boosting customer satisfaction and improving their bottom line. On the other hand, those that are holding back are losing ground to the competition.

A recent study of nearly 250 senior-level financial services executives conducted by Forrester Research on behalf of Ernst & Young revealed that digital leaders are using an adaptive and holistic approach to digital to meet evolving customer, marketplace and regulatory needs. “The right strategies, structures and cultures are closely correlated with the most digitally advanced companies,” says the study. “As a result, digital leaders enjoy a broader range of benefits (especially around customer satisfaction, profitability and greater adaptability to emerging threats), than laggards, who are more narrowly focused on cost.”

If you’re a carrier, it’s imperative to quickly begin or amp up digital transformation efforts so you don’t get left behind.

It’s not essential, however, to transform all your processes at once. Simply begin with a single process. Start by addressing and transforming the most manually intensive and repetitive process, then roll out and move forward from there. If you aren’t sure which process to choose, try available tools that use analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to mine information and identify problem areas.

5 key technologies

Implementing five key technologies can quickly bring you distinctive business benefits:

Combining robotic process automation (RPA) with artificial intelligence (AI) can lead to dramatic operational improvements. Use RPA and AI to automate business processes end to end, including complex decision making. As business increases, scale bots to handle the increased volume without hiring additional resources.

Cognitive computing and AI streamline service center responses, underwriting review time and other operations while maintaining high levels of accuracy and improving operational costs.  Consider training a cognitive tool such as Watson to interpret customer questions and answer them based on how reps have answered them in the past. Or train Watson to review photographs and learn which types meet underwriting guidelines and which need to be manually reviewed — and reduce the number of photos underwriters may have to review from thousands to hundreds.

Offering self-service enabled by an AI chatbot is becoming increasingly essential for insurers. It can improve the customer and agent experience, lighten employee workloads and improve underwriting and claims processes. Implement self-service capabilities to enable insureds to view or retrieve a copy of their policy, make payments, submit photos for a home inspection or even report a loss — with less need for assistance from a representative. Do-it-yourself service facilitates and speeds claims processing by allowing policyholders to quickly submit necessary claims information so agents can easily see all pertinent information about the loss. Self-service home inspections speed up the underwriting process — insureds submit detailed photos, reducing the actual bind and issuance time of new policies from days or weeks to within a day or even hours.

Evolving analytics technologies help gather information and develop a deeper understanding of customers and risks. Analytics provide actionable insights for better decisions. In Property & Casualty insurance, for instance, you can pull in data from multiple third parties and use analytics to understand how to appropriately rate risks — and determine if you even want the business. At the same time, you can develop a deep understanding of your customers and their potential future needs.

Multiply the benefits

While all five technologies can provide significant benefits, using them together increases their value exponentially. If you combine them all, you’ll have a true end-to-end digital process that makes a bigger impact on your organization. By implementing end-to-end digital transformation, insurers can discover greater operational efficiencies, enable a more productive and effective workforce and improve the customer experience, leading to greater satisfaction and retention. Organizations that approach digital transformation with a comprehensive approach can be more competitive and achieve greater growth.

Embarking on a digital initiative that implements all five technologies at once, however, may be costly and challenging. One option is business process as a service (BPaaS), which provides the latest digital tools to keep you competitive, achieve efficiencies and improve service, while letting you buy only what you use. You can implement RPA as a service, for instance, without the expense and trouble of investing in bots or training resources in RPA.


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