(Phil Ratcliff speaking at the 2018 DXC Insurance Conference. Photo credit: Tavits Photography.)
Items on the insurance CEO’s agenda reflect acknowledgement of a transforming industry, according to Phil Ratcliff, VP and General Manager of Global Insurance at DXC Technology (Tysons, Va.), speaking at the company’s annual conference in Phoenix Arizona earlier this month. Those items included understanding the changing customer, addressing new entrants to the market, and meeting the unrelenting pace of change. Ratcliff address these and other themes with an emphasis on the conference’s theme of “Engage.”
“Engagement and collaboration are becoming far more important in a society that is continuing to change from a local orientation with simple interactions performed in a clear structure to a more dynamic global model emphasizing mobility and connectedness,” Ratcliff said. “As a result, insurers will need to connect more broadly than ever before, and digital platforms will increasingly become more common.”
Cloud Architecture, APIs and Microservices
Ratcliff asserted that the outcome of digital disruption will be growing cross-sector convergence, driving the redesign of the traditional value chain as cross-industry ecosystems emerge. “Resulting platforms will increasingly integrate core business functions with third parties to expand capabilities and drive incremental customer revenue,” he elaborated. “We believe the characteristics of insurance software going forward will increasingly center around APIs, incorporate microservices, leverage cloud architecture, seamlessly integrate with external companies, and lean toward as-a-service models.”
Brian Wallace, DXC’s chief technology officer and portfolio build leader for Global Insurance, discussed the trend of consuming outside-in innovation to accelerate digital transformation. His presentation stressed that next-gen capabilities in insurance would come not from a single provider but from an ecosystem of partners whose capabilities, when seamlessly integrated with core insurance, will form a new set of completely reimagined value-chain services.
“The role of internal IT is changing, from creator and steward of retained assets to integrator and aggregator of capabilities from the API and as-a-service economies,” Wallace commented. “To meet the needs of the business and to help deliver an entirely different customer experience, IT will look to consume innovation at scale from the technology giants, innovation diversity from other industries, and innovation at speed from the startup community.”
“Discovering and tapping into these sources of outside-in innovation is just the beginning,” Wallace added. “The real challenge is to push these new capabilities to the edge of the enterprise, into the hands of the key personas at the point of interaction, the point of engagement, the point of decision. This is the role of the new digital insurance platform.”
In keeping with the Engage theme and the implications of the new open, cloud-based architecture, the conference emphasized the potential of open collaboration with new industry players and outside-in innovation, through the launch of the DXC Invitational—a competition for late-stage InsurTech startups and scale-ups with market-ready products and solutions.
More than 140 candidates were reviewed as part of the DXC Invitational, of which a dozen contestants were selected. Their solutions addressed areas such as distribution, actionable insights, loss prevention and customer engagement. DXC selected four finalists to present their solutions at the conference, the winners were announced, and a real-time audience vote determined the People’s Choice Award recipient. DXC reported that it is already collaborating with the winning companies, offering them the opportunity to partner globally with DXC and deploy their solutions for DXC’s clients, which represent 85 percent of the Fortune 500 insurance companies.
Global Survey on Digital Transformation
Michael Hoffmann, editor for The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU’s) thought leadership division, presented a preview of The EIU’s new global survey on digital transformation in the enterprise. The DXC-sponsored study explores how organizations are prioritizing investments to achieve digital success, and full results will be published in December. Hoffmann provided recommendations to help insurers prepare for future trends, operate more effectively and discover new opportunities.
“Profound transformation of the insurance sector won’t happen from any single new technology,” Hoffman said. “It will happen through innovative ways of leveraging the proliferation of data enabled by new technologies to price and monitor risks and improve outcomes for customers.
Hoffman stressed the role of insurers’ senior leadership because of the strategic nature of a given carrier’s partner ecosystem. “Employees need to know how emerging technology and data will change their roles, the ways they interact with other stakeholders, and how they can best contribute to strategic business drivers,” he explained. “There needs to be enterprise-wide collaboration, and the digital strategy must be well-defined and clearly articulated.”