Automation Can Be Revolutionary—If It’s Integrated

Automation tools for tasks such as underwriting and quoting do more than help us bridge the gap employee absences create—they can also improve business-intelligence and risk-assessment capabilities.

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In recent decades, the insurance industry has seen what a huge impact technology can have on business. Through automation, insurers can reduce the amount of employee cross-training they must do. They can also offer their customers and agents a more consistent, efficient process with fewer data entry points and the ability to accurately quote and auto-approve certain cases.

Automation is a simple concept, but it has far more sophisticated uses than may be obvious.

Automation tools for tasks such as underwriting and quoting do more than help us bridge the gap employee absences create. They can also improve business-intelligence and risk-assessment capabilities.

Automated underwriting tools can assess more data, quicker. While this helps insurers manage a high volume of business, it also means they get more intricate underwriting with the ability to analyze more factors and better assess potential risks. Better risk management means overall cost savings.  Combining this with savings from increased efficiency and accuracy, improved analytics, and the increased business brought on by faster, more accurate quoting and processes, lets insurers significantly boost profits.

Piecemeal Automation Is a Mistake

Taking a piecemeal approach to automation can be a big mistake. One of the biggest challenges for the insurance industry is the need for separate automation tools to be integrated into the business process so they can work together and share data, thus improving workflow, efficiency and accuracy. That’s why thinking of automation in terms of a company’s entire system is important—rather than looking at each process to be automated separately. Insurers need to create a comprehensive plan to approach automation in order to maximize its value.

Technology is helping the insurance industry evolve at a rapid pace, but insurers and agencies need to be careful when they finally decide to adopt new IT. While they can’t ignore the exciting advantages offered by technology automation, they must think holistically to create an integrated system if they want to enjoy the full benefit of these tools.

You’re not automating a process. You’re automating a business, getting rid of grunt work so that you’re paying employees for their skill and judgment—for what can’t be automated.

Michael J. de Waal // Mike de Waal is president and founder of Global IQX, an Ottawa-based software provider of web-based sales and service solutions to employee benefits insurers.  He has deep experience in both software development and business management skills. Early in his career, he worked as a computer programmer and then went on to become a financial planner and a benefits consultant with giant Manulife Financial before becoming a tech entrepreneur.  He can be reached at [email protected].

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