Wrap or Replace? Choose Your Best Path to Digital Transformation

Whether insurers opt to wrap or replace their legacy systems, the decision to digitally transform systems of record with systems of engagement is the only way to succeed in today’s competitive business landscape.

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Deploy the Right Tools to Meet Customer Expectations

In today’s insurance industry, competition is fierce and customer expectations are at an all-time high. While customers have become accustomed to real-time access to information and “the customer is always right” service, insurers are struggling to keep up with the digital pace. Insurance processes are often inefficient, error-prone and paper-based which can negatively impact productivity. Managing the massive amount of paper and digital information coming from various channels and formats is a challenge. Moving that information into legacy policy administration and claims management systems intensifies the challenge. Consequently, organizations are under significant pressure to reinvent processes in a way that vastly improves customer experience (CX) while reducing operating costs.

The common debate around how to move into the digital age is whether to simply wrap new capabilities around legacy systems or completely replace them. Unfortunately, the decision is not as easy as “wrap or replace.” Both options presents its own significant integration issues and will likely still leave an organization with critical capability gaps. These gaps can hamper the user experience and negatively impact CX. Following is a review of what today’s digital consumer expects, the capabilities typically missing with legacy insurance systems, and how insurers can best embark on their digital transformation.

Insurers Today Require On-Demand Services

In a world where consumers can research and initiate purchases from any device, at any time, and from any location, organizations need the ability to engage potential customers through the customer’s channel of choice. Whether that channel is a traditional agency office, a website, or through a mobile device, customers won’t be kept waiting. When they are ready to pay a bill, file a claim or apply for a policy, they want to do it now.

Digital innovations applied to current processes can create superior CX in real time that leads to profitable policyholder relationships long term. This is achieved by building an efficient bridge between core systems and the consumer’s preferred methods of engagement. From claims management and processing, to billing and information sharing – how, when and what an insurer communicates to a customer plays a key role in retention and advocacy.

Plan for Disruptions

Disruptions are a routine part of life. The ability to pick up where you left off makes those disruptions tolerable. Do your current engagement methods enable a potential insured to begin an application process in one channel and resume it in another later? If you’re struggling with this one, you’re not alone. According to a study by Bain & Company, very few insurers have complete omnichannel capabilities. In property/casualty, less than half of carriers surveyed could allow a customer to start a transaction in one channel and complete it in another. Every day customers benefit from robust and integrated omnichannel experiences in industries such as retail, where you can order a product online then drive to the nearest store to collect it. The insurance industry needs to streamline fragmented channels to provide a similar experience.

Know Your Customer

Today’s customer expects to be treated like an individual. Shorter attention spans and busier schedules mean they don’t have the time or inclination to provide their personal information over and over again. The more you learn about customers as they provide their information, the more you can streamline the information-gathering process. This offers the added benefit of minimizing potential fraud.

Scheduled, planned communication is no longer enough. Systems must engage customers when, where and how they want to be engaged. A successful customer engagement solution has customer communications management (CCM) technology that is medium agnostic—meaning content can be assembled and delivered in a graphically interesting manner regardless of the device the customer chooses to use. When selecting a system, look for solutions that have single, not parallel, XML data connections to the various output channels.

Mobile Gets It Done

Submitting an insurance claim is never a happy time for insurance customers. The last thing an auto or home owner wants to do is spend time printing and mailing paper documents. But that information is necessary for a claim to be evaluated. Customers want to engage in the process as early as possible, and collect and submit information (safely) from the scene of an incident or wherever they happen to be.

Policy and Claims Systems are Counterintuitive to CX

Bridging what customers expect with what legacy systems can manage can be a daunting undertaking. Many insurers are working with policy administration and claims management systems dating as far back as the 1980s, when most of the ways consumers want to interact with a business hadn’t been invented yet.

Policy administration systems are where policy rules are configured and coded. They house the plans, plan codes, conditions, ratings, general rules about lapses in policies, and billing information—everything relating to managing policies. Separately, the claims management system is a repository that holds information about all claims files: which claims have been paid, how much was paid and when; and which claims were denied and for what reason. Accurate information in both systems is critical to maintaining compliance. Unfortunately, each system requires someone to enter the record and rules of the policy. Additionally, when new policies, products and rules are updated, hard coding and significant resources for manual data entry are usually required.

Replacing antiquated systems is attractive as they allow insurers to be more agile. A variety of business rules can be built without the hard-coding required in older technology. Newer systems are more flexible, simplifying changes to current products and getting new products to market quicker.

While these old or new systems house the bare necessities for insurers, they often lack the components that empower personnel to truly connect and engage with today’s insured. Winning insurers find that supplementing their systems with these capabilities and processes gives them a clear advantage:

  • Content management—to give underwriters, customer service associates and claims processors instant access to related documents so they can make better, more informed decisions and issue new policies, respond to inquiries, and pay claims in a more timely manner.
  • Process management—to automate simple, repeatable tasks and processes, and guide the processor through the complex, variable tasks and activities associated with dynamic case management.
  • Process intelligence—to analyze data obtained through your interactions with customers. This data analysis helps you gain insights into customer behavior as well as business performance, and areas in your business that may need improvement.
  • Search—to locate key information in a simple, straightforward and quick manner regardless of where it exists. These can be repositories, SharePoint sites, email systems, network shares, intranets, extranets, websites, databases, social media and other places.
  • Customer communications management—to better engage with customers in the manner they prefer, by producing and managing personalized correspondence across a wide variety of channels including email, print and online formats.
  • Mobile—by equipping mobile apps with the latest capture technology, claims, their supporting documents (such as police reports, photos, or driver licenses), and other information can be quickly and easily collected at their point of origination. Empowering the customer to accurately begin collecting information not only speeds up the process but gives them the peace of mind and reassurance that you’re doing everything you can to help them recover quickly.
  • Robotic process automation (RPA)—to automate the acquisition of key pieces of information, allowing insurers to augment and validate the information provided by the applicant. This minimizes data entry and greatly improves CX. Less data entry by the applicant and better data quality for you is a win-win.

Achieving Digital Transformation

Whether insurers opt to wrap or replace their legacy systems, the decision to digitally transform systems of record with systems of engagement is the only way to succeed in today’s competitive business landscape. Either option may require significant migration and integration of information and processes; how you approach the transition will determine how quickly you maintain or lose your competitive edge. The road to digital innovation does not have to be challenging as long as you maintain focus on serving your customers’ needs.

Jeff Hiegert // Jeff Hiegert is a Global Industry Manager supporting the insurance vertical at Lexmark Enterprise Software. He is responsible for helping define the technology solutions and product functionality that solve business challenges specific for the insurance industry. He works with internal resources such as Sales, Professional Services and Marketing as well as customers and industry analysts to understand the trends, challenges and needs of the global insurance industry and uses that knowledge to help drive the industry solutions and core product roadmap.

Comment (1)

  1. Excellent, thorough article. “When …ready to pay a bill, file a claim or apply for a policy, they want to do it now.” Alert! When insurance companies enable customers to interact the way they want, they’ll leave old systems in a heartbeat, myself included. You can go a lifetime without filing a claim, but quotes and billing impacts all parties continually, especially renewals.
    Payments security compliance is going to get trickier. Omnichannel is both possible, and helps bridge legacy to digital transformation; Sensitive data is segregated, non-sensitive data (auth responses, etc) can be parsed into multiple systems for journal entries, actionable triggers etc.

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