The growth of insurance technology offers some key lessons for changing business processes and driving business growth.
The insurance industry has faced a number of challenges over the past few years. Today the insurance industry must comply with a myriad of regulatory requirements as governments of all levels revise their rules. The competitive environment has also intensified as banks and other financial services companies increasingly offer insurance products.
With the economic downturn, many households are cutting their costs, and insurance payments are often on the list of cutbacks. Consumers are increasingly looking for reasons not to buy.
Insurance technology helps address these challenges in two ways:
- It drives efficiencies and helps curb administrative costs.
- It expands opportunities for connecting with existing customers and communicating with target markets.
As we examine the industry’s trends, the lessons we learn can broadly apply to many businesses.
Insurance Technology Creates Efficiencies
There has been a big shift in the industry by implementing insurance technology to improve workflow.
In the past, insurance companies have mostly relied on paper-based processes. Paper files have been used for the entire policy administration process, including:
- Policyholder applications
- Claim forms
- Statement updates
- Payout cheques
Firms have traditionally sent information and documents to policyholders via snail mail, received claims by paper form, issued payouts by cheque, and archiving the folders in paper-based files. But this process is changing.
Today several sophisticated insurers are investing in enterprise-wide systems that digitize the entire policy administration process. Rather than collecting information and documents in paper form, the system gathers info digitally, from the initial agency sale to claim submissions and the eventual payouts.
In some cases, companies use high volume document conversion to turn those millions of daily paper transactions into consolidated electronic folders.
This transformation has a direct benefit for the customer experience. Perhaps the single biggest benefit of insurance technology is empowering more efficient communication with customers.
For example, many companies are now offering web-based forms to submit claims. It makes their process quicker to submit and easier for policyholders to follow the progress of their claims. Similarly, digital signage solutions allow customers to sign their documents electronically rather than using a traditional paper signature.
Insurance technology offers the benefit of connecting with customers by pushing information out to them. E-mail, text messages, and mobile communications are efficient methods for giving customers key information such as:
- Payment due dates
- Status of claims
- A targeted offer of interest
Customers value convenience and these methods are key to enhancing customer convenience and satisfaction.
Insurance technology offers a key competitive advantage – mobility.
Mobile technology offers the opportunity for greater connection with customers, field agents, and management. Some insurers have even offered kiosks in emergency zones so policyholders can quickly file claims, access information, and check the status of payments. It’s a valuable use of technology to improve convenience and customer service.
Harnessing the Data
Finally, companies are leveraging insurance technology to realize the strategic benefit of big data. The daily transactions of applications, claims, and payouts provide a mountain of market data that can be used for strategic decision-making.
With drill-down and drill-through abilities, this insurance technology provides valuable information for product development, strategic direction, and daily decision-making.
Insurance Technology Drives Business Growth
Insurance technology drives business growth by cutting costs and increasing customer communications. The key trends include:
- An automated approach to the entire policy lifecycle
- Digitizing the millions of documents
- Improving customer communication, including push-out communications
- Harnessing the big data for strategic insight
Lessons learned from insurance industry can be used to drive efficiencies in many industries.
Has your company used technology to create efficiencies and improve business processes?
What about processing massive volumes of documents?
What is your experience with the insurance sector? Have you experienced easier and more efficient communications?
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