Author : Suhail Ahmad
Global Delivery Head - Enterprise Solutions & IT Infra

Suhail heads Delivery of Projects for Enterprise Solutions and IT Infrastructure Management at Espire. He ensures implementation and delivery of all projects under this Business Unit conforms to Espire's quality benchmarks, customer goals and ROI. Suhail leads best practices in effective process excellence and project deliveries, project management and capacity building. He also provides valuable support to our Enterprise Solutions and Infrastructure practices.

3 Key Digital Strategies giving Insurers a competitive edge

The insurance industry is in one of the most disrupted phases in the current era and it will redefine the way this industry works. The industry has been clamped down by legacy mainframes and tight legislature, riddled with low customer experience quotient. Hence innovation and transformation were always a Herculean task. However, there was no deterrent to adoption of the lightning speed changing technology landscape. Technology is advancing rapidly, and customers have multiple options, therefore expectations and hence stakes are very high.

With the advent of hi-tech, customers need everything at their convenient time, anywhere, and from any device. With legacy and resources limitation but with the myriad of new technologies, meeting this expectation was difficult but not impossible. As customer experience is of foremost importance but so is the legislature, hence online self-service portal became the need of the hour.

1. The maturing self-service and the future state of it

The first baby step was simple Self-Service portals bringing their offerings online and allowing download of forms. From here, insurers rapidly moved onto online quotation services, online purchase of standard policies, endorsement requests, and other such simple updates. However, with maturing AI, machine learning, and cognitive services - the Self-Service portals are now capable to offer more personalized, convenient, central, and channel agnostic customer engagement experiences.

In recent times, Self-Service now includes on-spot intuitive underwriting for even complex proposals with the instant quote and document submission, Instant First Notice of Loss notification, claims notification and so on. But this is not the end of it. We are miles to go before the entire benefit can be achieved through the self-service approach. There is a lot of scope for innovation in Self -Service solution, powered by AI enabled content management solutions, cognitive services, and machine learning. The next-in-line Self Service solutions would empower customers to take the next right step without seeking help from insurance call centers or service agents or brokers. This complete self-empowerment can be achieved through AI enabled chatbots, Robo-advisor, machine learning based underwriting and fraud assessment, automated policy servicing, and cognitive portals. One single solution or any such stand-alone hi-tech solution will be able to provide the comprehensive customer engagement nirvana. One also must be very careful of data security and GDPR guidelines. Hence, it requires a service partner who encapsulates the entire customer journey to suggest the right mix of technology offerings to elevate the customer experience and fulfill the digital transformation goals of that specific insurer.

2. The customer communication management roadmap and why now omnichannel

No Self-service solution is complete without communication management. Due to archaic platforms and disparate systems with outsourced activities, insurers are not able to provide consistent branding and customer experience. Customers are demanding more transparency in the communication process, especially with regards to claims settlement and policy servicing. Hence, insurers in their bid to rationalize and consolidate their offerings, they gravitate to personalized, targeted customer communication solutions. On-demand and interactive communications are no longer considered as a differentiator but as a basic must-have, as this is the norm now with the changing customer behavior. With the advent of ‘digital natives’, there are various options to communicate and connect with insurers and seamless experience is expected in the entire communication process. While they hop from one touch-point to another, without having to repeat the same details again and again, on each of these touch-points. To cater to this need, multi-channel customer communication solutions emerged but failed to create such seamless experiences, purely for not being able to integrate the different touch-points. It failed to manage parallel communication across multiple channels and hence led to the evolution of omni-channel communication. Omni-channel communication not only encourages eco-friendly strategy but also reduced the brand inconsistency and customer leakage. Omnichannel communication enables personalized interaction with customers, meeting their emotional needs by making contextual conversations, based on their last communication history across different touch-points and channels and current profile across different systems. With advancements in CCM technology, personalized videos with interactive features took that leap to provide that ultimate customer experience, by striking the right context, enabling smooth onboarding, up-selling and cross-selling.

3. The need for a connected ecosystem and the ingredients to build one

The next step for insurers to meet the millennial’s demand and technology advancement is to have channel-agnostic or channel-less solution for optimized, cognitive and tailored offerings. Insurers have always had the concern to optimize the orchestration of their solution as giving it to one vendor for all solutions may not be optimal and having multiple vendors involves high cost and interrupts seamless service. Hence, designing an integrated solution is required for a cohesive business ecosystem. A connected ecosystem is the key to climb up the customer journey management (CJM) maturity scale.

For a connected ecosystem, the architecture must be:

  • Highly scalable
  • Easy to upgrade
  • Manage seamless integration between different touch-points and provides comprehensive reports
  • ready and easy to introduce or remove any technology solutions
  • Smooth connect and disconnect with third-party vendors, as and when required
  • The building of reusable assets or APIs

This enables to bring technology out of the solution and strive to achieve the CX strategy goals of the business. It empowers the insurer to use the best-of-the-breed technology in the right context without going for a one-size-fits-all approach - enabling them to adopt a more comprehensive solution, tailored to meet their customers' need.

Vendors provide technology, but partners provide a solution to business problems. Insurers are now gravitating to the right partner who can orchestrate the solution, optimize and customize based on each specific insurer’s needs by selecting the right capabilities from the rich catalog of technology offerings.


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