Back-End Data Will Make or Break Customer Experience

The real revolution in customer experience, and the real payoff of modern core systems and data capabilities, will come when the company and the back office processing are organized in a way that enables a full engagement of the back-end with the front end.

(Image credit: Adobe Stock.)

The emergence of digital insurance has been characterized as the supplanting of “systems of record” with “systems of engagement.” This is good, as far as it goes, but ultimately it creates a false dichotomy. The fundamental change happening is a matter of the organizational and systems orientation moving away from the contract and toward the customer—the “customer-centricity” that the industry has been pursuing for the better part of two decades. Records remain as relevant as ever, but from a different perspective.

The conceptual problem was on display in the way Metromile struggled to describe its new “smart claims assistant” AVA in our recent story. Metromile CEO Dan Preston explained to us that AVA is not another chatbot at all, but is rather the power of the company’s innovative central processing capability. Does that make it (her?) a utility based on the core? No, Preston insisted: it’s part of a single, holistic entity. “You can’t separate the brain from the body,” he insisted.

The point is that the systems of record inform the systems of engagement, and the next great phase in insurance customer experience will be as much about the data as the interface. It’s hard to underestimate how important this will be for insurers to tackle, given its implication for systems, sourcing and company culture—including the skill sets needed to unite these two ends of the technology continuum.

In the top story of IIR’s newsletter this week, we see how Haven Life’s innovative insurance buying experience redesign takes its power not merely from its front-end technology, but the meaningful way back end data and analytics power the front-end experience. (Be sure to see also our related Q&A with Haven Life General Manager, John Latona.)

We’ll be discussing this vital topic on Wednesday, Oct. 11 in a free webcast with Karlyn Carnahan of Celent and Charlie Hanna of Hyland Software: Digital Insurance Transformation: From Cosmetic to Holistic.

Insurers continue to focus, appropriately enough, on improving the quality of their customer interface and are making strides in personalizing customer communications. But the real revolution in customer experience, and the real payoff of modern core systems and data capabilities, will come when the company and the back office processing are organized in a way that enables a full engagement of the back-end with the front end—making possible the kind of engagement that matches customers’ experience, with businesses in other industries.

Insurance Enters the Engagement Era—Are You Ready?

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For over a decade he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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