The latest developments across the P&C insurance industry regarding fraud, risk and compliance.
21 July 2016

Insurers struggle with innovation

Technology moves fast. In modern day healthcare, people can be monitored 24/7 by swallowing a pill that transfers all their internal characteristics into medical devices. 25 years ago this would be something physicians could only dream of. People can also safely implant microchips in their body to open doors, store password information or bank details. In short, nowadays people would have a hard time if technology fails them. What route to take without the option to consult Google maps? Who to call when all the numbers are stored in a phone that ran out of battery? How to prepare that recipe without your digital cooking app?

insurers-struggle-with-innovation-legacy-systemsYet for insurance companies, technology moves slowly. Legacy systems, implemented in the 80’s still run and contain tons of data -built over years. Replacing them is a head-aching operation, let alone the risk of losing valuable data on policies, claim history and customer contacts. As long as these systems run, why at all take the risk of replacing them?

These legacy systems thus form a basis of non-innovation. They make that insurance companies struggle to not only address the current customer base, but also to attract and address the next generation. Keeping up with modern developments is a hard task, for the legacy systems need to be included in the innovations. For instance, mobile-only is what customers nowadays would expect if they want to engage with an insurance company; whether they apply for a policy, issue a claim or contact customer support. A short message on Twitter, a private or public message on Facebook about the provided service or sharing a photo of a damaged car via Instagram is how the modern generation communicates; so why not do so with the insurance company?

Blood, sweat & tears

Innovation is not something that can be reached within a day. It requires serious efforts, a clear vision and, most of all, dedication. Appointing a group of employees to innovate often fails to bring the desired outcome, how hard they may try -mainly because these appointed innovators think from reference points they already know. They also face an organization that is doing what it does because it has been doing this already. People have to embrace the change, and that is easier said than done.

The best way to tackle the innovation challenge would be to start off with something completely new and not be bothered by any existing structure. For instance, by putting a number of experienced professionals together with newbies from the ‘next generation’. Let them draw the ideal world of insurance and see what tools are available or have to be created to support the ideas. This could move them into the growing group of insurtech companies -innovative startups such as InShared, Lemonade or myfuturenow.

Make use of what already is availableinsurers-struggle-with-innovation

For established insurance brands, innovation might be a tough challenge. However, starting off with a mixture of old and new technologies could bring together the best of both worlds. There are a lot of tools available that can change the way an insurance company works today. Think of the time that could be saved by automating processes such as document generation, sign papers electronically or detect fraud in an automated manner. For a growing number of insurers, those are standard processes in when a customer applies for a new product, issues a claim or seeks to renew a policy. Unfortunately, for the majority of insurance companies these processes still consume time and effort.

Not to mention the usage of all insurance data available in a company to work on the analytics. Policy, claim and customer data is available in the legacy systems in great numbers. Once connected in the right way, this data can be used to gain valuable insight. What would then happen if a certain person issues a claim? What might it mean for a policy renewal? Combined with automated processes, the correct application of analytics makes the insurance flow an efficient and virtual experience.

Do not think innovation, act it

Although innovation might be easier said than done, it is far from impossible. Insurance companies should not be afraid to start something that lays outside their comfort zone. New companies fill the gaps that are currently left by the established brands and modern technologies automate processes. Employees can start working on adding real value by providing real customer care, be proactive when it comes to serving the customer and only work on what cannot be automated. Most of the technology is already there today, and the number of successful new spin-off insurance companies grow by the day. Stay flexible, be dedicated and start innovating.

Source: Insurance Thought Leadership

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