You have heard a lot – likely an awful lot – about the ways advances in technology are impacting customer experience in the insurance industry: how they drive service beyond what customers expect by adapting with them as their lives change, by managing changes to their plans and policies with ease, and by offering a consistent experience across platforms and interactions. All that’s needed is to tap into it, right? Not so fast, say those in the trenches.
As insurers drive to expand and grow in an increasingly digital marketplace, it is understood that excellent customer service is no longer a standout, but a standard. In the last two years, the number one strategic investment across the insurance industry has been in improving customer engagement. Why so much emphasis?
Few would dispute that in the long history of insurance there has been a disruption in the fundamental process around how carriers acquire, service and maintain their client base that comes anywhere close to the scale we are experiencing today. Insurer business units and their colleagues in IT operations and system development need ways to respond to the challenge. None wish to be caught holding stone chisels in a digital world.
Forget “15 minutes could save you 15% on car insurance.” This popular insurance advertising meme makes me want to ask wouldn’t your customers prefer to save not only more time and money, but the effort also? This is precisely the new value that is being achieved with new digital engagement technologies, and customers like it.
Think you have heard all you need to know about the benefits of cloud deployment of enterprise solutions? Get ready for more because cloud is finally in season and bearing good fruit for insurers. The latest news is Amazon Web Services (AWS) announcing its financial services competency program to the marketplace, indicating a strong focus by one of the largest cloud providers on an important vertical. EIS is pleased to have been a launch partner for the initiative. So what is the significance of the AWS move? Industry observers were quick to weigh in on how it influences insurers’ choices and approaches for core systems in the cloud.
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On February 2, Groundhog Day, something different happened at the annual LIMRA Enrollment Technology Strategy Seminar (ETSS). For the last three years, EIS Group has sponsored ETSS and each year, the latest approaches and challenges to benefits enrollment are discussed. But just as the venerable Punxsutawney Phil himself is prone to do, each year the attendees see their long shadows – of legacy technology constraints – and withdraw to comfortable, insulated dens rather than embrace an early spring of much-needed change. Not this year. For the first time, the conference coalesced around the root cause of enrollment problems: connectivity.
When the ball dropped on 2017 it opened another pivotal year for digital transition. Some insurers feel poised for digital success. For many others, small gains have been hard won and their positive business impacts quickly muted by a fast-moving business landscape. 2016 compounded their conundrum by exposing the vulnerable underbelly of insurers, Uber-style, to new business models—such as on demand insurance—new entrants, and emerging InsurTech. If all this caught you by surprise, and you have not had time to formulate a response, 2017 is now or never. Sorry, the party will have to wait.
What side of the digital divide are you on? You’ll find the answer in the new ACORD/Genpact report, Assessing Digital Impact Across Insurer and Channel Operations, which offers insight into the traits that make up either a digital leader or a laggard. It turns out that the great majority of “digital leaders” are those companies that have successfully aligned the back and middle office with the front office.
The tech talent battle is waging and at this point insurers are not faring well. The competition is stiff across all sectors for much in demand skill-sets needed for success in the digital age. The problem for insurers is part perception, part reality. Insurance is not on the radar of millennials as an exciting career, and many insurers are still transitioning from a legacy technology. Where is the cool stuff that fresh and smart tech talent wants to work with? Insurers will need to scrutinize their technology choices and strategies if they want to attract critical talent to scaffold the next century of insurance.
How smart do insurers have to be to engage customers? Just how much customer data from sources near and far and how much analysis of customer behavior is necessary to create an effective engagement model? The answer may as well be, “How much money are you willing to spend?” Overlooked, however, is the fact that core systems data is actually customer insight lying in plain sight. How can insurers get at it and use it for intelligent engagement? Why must they?