Rana Biswas, Vice President, APAC Insurance & Wealth Solutions at Equisoft advocates the adoption of technology in the insurance sector
The insurance industry still largely relies on traditional methods to conduct day-to-day operations. Most processes are manual, often involve the movement of paper, and require significanthands-on involvement. This cost-heavy, resource-intensive approach has created adrag on businesses–hurting productivity and inflating costs.
Now, the pandemic, and the physical distancing requirements that it caused, have increased the need to adopt more modern approaches, workflows and technology. Most staff are now working from home, and in-person meetings with customers are no longer possible. Finding digital solutions to everything from prospecting to app processing to customer service is now imperative.
So, what steps are leading insurance companies taking to overcome today’s challenges and seize the opportunity to enhance the efficiency of their operations and spur business growth?
Digital media enhances customer acquisition
Like organizations in other industries, insurers are looking at innovative business restructuring and digital interventions that will create efficiencies and improvements across the entire value chain. When it comes to enhancing the digital footprint of the organization, customer acquisition is the first focus area for many insurance companies. The most progressive insurers have been leveraging digital media to acquire new customers for some time. But, now that traditional prospecting approaches like seminars and lunches are off limits due to pandemic restrictions, there has been heightened focus on digital solutions to the problem. Using a blend of paid, owned and earned digital media, insurers are attempting to connect with customers via paid presences on online search, websites and social media platforms.
The evolution of engagement—chatbots, analytics and AI
Enhancing avenues for customer engagement is another priority area for insurers. The digital media channels for customer engagement now go far beyond yesterday’s simple websites. The next step forward is advanced CRM software. It creates on-demand analytics and merges seamlessly with external web-enabled interfaces, like virtual shops and virtual sales assistants, providing faster data integration and on spot resolution to customer requirements.
Digital technology can also reduce the load on call centers and other staff-intensive service functions. Chatbots, integrated into a company’s website, can handle millions of lower-level queries. When AI software, like chatbot applications, are integrated with customer contact centers and processes, the resultant hybrid ‘human–AI’ contact system is able to handle customer queries much faster, with an increased turnaround time and significant reduction in errors.
Driving efficiency through process automation
Transaction processing in the insurance industry is critical to day-to-day operations and consumes millions of man-hours each day. Even marginal gains in processing speed can createsignificant improvements in operational efficiency. Specialized process automation software for the insurance industrycan automatemany tasks, such as claims assessment and processing, policy processing, and underwriting processing. It can accelerate transaction through-put, eliminate errors and speed up the operations of the company. Such software allows a far smaller team to process a large volume of transactions—reducing costs and freeing staff to work on higher value tasks.
Data needs drive back-office modernization
Given the above-mentioned scenario, many CIOs of insurance companies are already planning Business Architecture modifications for implementing back-office systems that enable streamlined data flows, better integration, easier remote access and quicker responses to market changes. In the past, legacy system replacement was a longer-term consideration for most companies. But the need to upgrade their aging PAS and migrate their data to a modern platform has now become a business priority that needs to be addressed urgently.
A comprehensive digital and automation strategy can help integrate back-office and front-end solutions so that the work-from-home model of operations produces optimal results. Utilizing modern digital tools like e-Applications, e-Signature, as well as advisor and client portals will enable all industry stakeholders to stay connected. Additionally, customers will receive the accelerated, highly personal care they desire.
On the customer acquisition side, advisors will be able to meet with prospects and clients either in person or at a distance. These integrated systems will go a long way towards enhancing operational effectiveness and add to the bottom line of the companies in the sector.