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Editor’s Note: This article is Part II of a Series. See link to Part I below.
A convenient, productive and easy customer experience is now considered a competitive imperative across all insurance businesses. Insurance customers expect to file claims anytime and anywhere, populate required information with minimal manual effort, shift among channels easily, and check policy updates in real-time. The digitally-enabled insurer will compete better in the long term, capitalizing on new business opportunities like usage-based and telematics-led insurance, real time quoting, comparative raters and comparison sites. Digital transformation is required to move your insurance organization into position to handle customers’ increasing expectations for a seamless digital experience. For example, a digitally integrated claims supply chain will empower your company to realize cost reductions across the enterprise, improve customer service and mitigate loss even before a claim event occurs. Digital transformation also plays a critical role in stemming fraud, steadily on the rise with fake applicants and false claims.
But benefits like these aren’t possible without significant digital infrastructure—well thought out and customized to your organization’s priorities, culture, and customer base. What are the key steps to achieve this for your organization in particular? There is no single correct path, and the smartest steps depend on your digital maturity and willingness to strategically redesign business processes. For example, less than one-third of life insurance carriers and about 40 percent of P&C carriers allow customers to start a transaction in one channel and complete it in another. Yet as many as 74 percent of insurers believe that some part of their business is at risk of disruption, caused by insuretech startups moving into their market.
Get strategic with a Business Process Matrix
Using a Business Process Matrix will help you identify opportunities for digitization within your organization. Focus on your core business functions within each stage of the insurance lifecycle, prioritizing those that will have the greatest potential impact on your results and/or your largest customer base. This entails looking at the five common process steps that occur consistently within each function: processes are initiated, data is collected, requests are evaluated, interaction occurs with the customer, and the process is ultimately completed and closed.
As you move across and down the matrix identifying digital opportunities, look for intersections where:
- Your customers make decisions about the type of company you are
- Your operation is relatively inefficient today when compared to competitors
- Your competitors are weak
In addition, be aware that the prioritization of opportunities depends on the degree to which your products and services are, or could be, digitized and how new technologies are changing the way your customers engage. As you recognize opportunities, consider whether your organization is wary of full digital immersion, or is ready to act quickly to gain advantage and expand customer reach. It’s important to recognize where your organization falls on the continuum of digital readiness and ambition, so you can plan accordingly and improve your chances of success.
Don’t miss the big picture
Ideally, the entire process is digitized; this includes front- and back-office operations from initial customer engagement all the way through policy maintenance and claims processing. Front-office digitization improves customer experience while ensuring compliance to policy and regulation, an essential in today’s competitive insurance markets. Back-office digitization delivers better operational efficiency, a perennial requirement of successful organizations. Digitizing both the front- and back-office boosts competitiveness, makes your organization more attractive to customers, and positions you for continued long term success.
Tips for process redesign
- Map and analyze the customer journey and the potential impact process changes may have on your customers
- Identify high priority customer touchpoints, where a great customer experience and substantial business value must be created
- Look for redundancy and manual verification—often in processes related to compliance
- Find opportunities for eliminating data entry, metadata extraction, verification and manual document processing
- Integrate systems of engagement with systems of record and external data sources
- Leverage opportunities to digitally engage customers by enabling self-service
- Use customer data to provide personalized offers and communications
- Facilitate back office collaboration and decision-making
- Design dashboards for your customers, as well as for continuous improvement and compliance purposes
Invest in wowing customers
Accelerate your high-value customer journeys to a positive result, as a matter of routine. Impress customers with the great experience and value you deliver at each touchpoint in their journey with you. How? Redesign and digitize the process, for example identifying opportunities to pre-fill required forms so your customers have to enter less data than before, or provide automatic confirmations and alerts that keep your customer informed. Deliver a digitally transformed process that provides real-time two-way customer communication and document sharing, supports e-signing where appropriate, and allows for self-service and support on any channel the customer chooses. Use digital technology to improve your compliance to policy and regulation, while capitalizing on the flexibility of digital to enhance your customer’s experience.
Today’s customers expect more and are looking for a real wow factor—if you don’t deliver, your competitors will. Look for the next installment in our series, where we will discuss the application of robotic process automation and consider the potential of digital in more depth. Meanwhile, why not take five minutes right now to use the Business Process Matrix to identify some potential areas where digital transformation can make yours a better insurance business?
Begin your transformation plan with the customer-facing processes (or intersections in the Business Process Matrix) across all channels and lines of business that:
- Have the greatest impact on your organization’s results
- Impact the largest customer bases
- Help you keep pace with or outrun competitors
- Contribute to low Net Promoter Scores (NPS)