Avoid Digital Disarray: 8 Tech Essentials of an Insurer Approach to Digital


As we move inexorably forward into a digital future, many companies are giving hefty consideration to how well they’re keeping pace with developing technologies. Overwhelmingly their answer is “Poorly.” Nearly all of those surveyed agreed on the importance of digital transformation; 95 percent say customers and end-users should have truly unique experiences and 80 percent worry about their companies being left behind if they couldn’t. What can we do better? Try a more integrated approach.

As Couchbase Research has found, while an overwhelming majority of IT leaders (80 percent) feel constant pressure to improve, 90 percent of digital projects that are undertaken still fail to meet expectations and only deliver incremental value. A major contributor to this discrepancy is simply market saturation; there are too many options and solutions for individual problems.

For insurers, there are solutions for portals, omnichannel platforms, mobile apps, contact centers, agent/broker interactions, and others. They also include tech-based point solutions for chat, collaboration, click-to-call, and many others.

Solutions can be amalgamated in a Frankenstein’s approach to contribute to the digital experience, but this has significant limitations and drawbacks. An integrated platform to support all types of digital interactions is a better approach.

In this post, we’ll look at eight specific and essential technical capabilities that such a digital experience platform would need.

  1. Digital framework: First, the digital experience platform needs a framework that acts as the starting point for the design, architecture, and solutions development for an integrated set of capabilities. It has to be robust; all of the technical requirements insurers need to be able to provide digital experiences to all potential users, prospects, customers, agents and other professionals have to be part of this system.
  1. Omnichannel: The idea of omnichannel operations is easy to understand—structure the flow of information so that the transfer of input, conversations, and transactions between channels is seamless. The word “seamless” is overused, but an omnichannel middleware can truly enable users with the flexibility to use any device, through any channel to interact, without the re-entry of data or the repetition of a conversation that has already occurred. Whether via web, mobile, contact center or in collaboration with an agent, the right content and context will always be provided in real-time.
  1. Configuration/customization: Maximum flexibility in configuring solutions should be provided due to the wide variety of user engagement in the insurance industry. Capabilities that allow users to select, tailor, and personalize functionality will extend the usability of the digital experience platform.
  1. Personas and apps: With the wealth of data available to them, many insurers have done extensive work researching their users, understanding customer cycles, and defining customer personas. The challenge they’re up against is operationalizing these insights. The ability to build on pre-defined personas and apps to customize and package services for specific situations is an excellent way to leverage these insights and to present great digital experiences to individuals.
  1. Modern architecture: It is mandatory that the digital-world solutions of today are designed with a mobile-first mindset, flexible APIs that enable connections to other internal or external services, and both on-premises or cloud-based deployment options.
  1. Integration: A modern architecture with extensive APIs makes integration easier. Another big plus is being able to have pre-integration with other popular solutions in the marketplace. The age of silos is disappearing. Digital enterprises, by definition, integrate a variety of solutions to provide the best digital experiences.
  1. Core systems “intelligence”: When solution designers have a deep understanding of policy, billing, and claims systems, they’re able to help the platform to interact and integrate more easily. And using the aforementioned modern architecture with APIs along with pre-integration of the platform into core systems enables more rapid implementations and digital apps that are supported by the back-end systems.
  1. Emerging tech enablement: Support for new technology options such as AI-based chatbots, IoT interactions, telematics, new payment options, and many others is vital. The world is increasingly connected, resulting in an increased frequency of interactions as well as new and different types of interactions. Customers are beginning to expect insurers to support interactions via their new devices and the technology embedded in vehicles, homes, and other settings.

A complete digital experience platform that offers all of these capabilities will be able to support all types of digital experiences. But it is also important that the design of your platform is componentized so that existing solutions or those to be implemented separately can plug in and integrate smoothly within the overall framework.

The only constant is change. As new technology becomes available, some solutions will change.  And your business requirements for customer engagement will change. Change can be met without leading to digital disarray and the fear of failure when these technology capabilities are offered through an integrated set of solutions in a manner that provides implementation speed and flexibility.

For more on the strategy and technology needed for customer engagement in the digital era,   download the new report by SMA entitled: Building Loyalty and Engagement through Digital Experience in Insurance.

Philippe Lafreniere is senior vice president, Product Marketing, at EIS Group. You can read more of Philippe’s blogs here.