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A recent report from market research company IBIS projects the insurance software market will exceed $8 billion in 2016. Over the next five years, that growth rate is projected to increase to 3.6 percent, leading to revenues that will likely reach $9.8 billion by 2021. The researcher attributes growth in the sector to an increased interest in three areas: cloud computing, data accessibility and cybersecurity. As insurance organizations consider software investments, they can address all three of these important areas of interest when choosing a customer communications management (CCM) solution.
Organizations today recognize that it’s essential to communicate with customers in a personalized, timely way. In insurance, as in many transaction-based industries, customers may interact with the organization primarily via periodic statements, so it’s imperative that every communication is effective. However, for many insurance organizations, getting the right data into the hands of business users and enabling them to enhance those communications remain stumbling blocks.
As the IBIS research notes, data accessibility is a key issue. Marketers and business users often don’t have a way to quickly access data or create, test and approve content across print and digital channels without involving IT. Making even the smallest change on an account statement, letter, policy or other routine document can take weeks or months and requires the attention of already overburdened IT resources. As a result, it is difficult, if not impossible to appropriately respond to the shifting needs of customers in a cohesive, timely and personalized way.
Cloud-based, SaaS CCM can enhance control, compliance and data access
A cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach to CCM can solve these problems by centralizing data access, content creation and change management. This approach would incorporate an internal user management system that enables centralized control of individual and group rights to ensure consistency and compliance as well as an integrated workflow system that controls the required steps for creation, edits and approvals.
Cloud-based CCM can enable self-service proofing and testing by non-technical business users, who can see what their content will look like in real time. Once they are sure it’s correct, formatted properly, and being sent to the right customer, the communication can quickly be approved and sent to production using the organization’s existing composition and communications delivery channels. A configurable approval workflow can ensure that only the content changes that are approved by the right users make it into production.
Taking an approach of this kind will streamline the production and management of complex content assembly documents facing insurers—such as policies, ANOCs and EOCs. Business users would be able to propagate approved content updates across one or many contracts or plan-based material versions. Compliance approvals can be accomplished globally or at the version level, all controlled by the system that ensures only approved content is used when production takes place. This approach avoids the challenge and manual effort required to find and replace content across a sea of individual touchpoints.
A cloud-based SaaS CCM solution can achieve the same results with other communications as well, such as welcome packages, forms, letter correspondence, ID cards, monthly and annual health statements that are part of the customer communications lifecycle.
Ensure data security with a hybrid cloud approach
For organizations desiring to keep customer or other sensitive data behind their firewall, a hybrid cloud approach offers a way to get the benefits of the cloud and the security of keeping data protected on-premise behind the organization’s firewall. SaaS hybrid cloud CCM solutions can address security concerns if designed such that customer data is only required when digital communications are being generated at an organization’s premises or at its trusted print service provider. With this approach, business users can use the cloud component to manage all messaging content and rules and collaborate with one another to preview and approve content for use in production, while the executable decision engine software and sensitive data remains within the organization’s secure environment.
Once content and rules are approved for production by the business users, a set of files containing all approved messaging content and rule instructions can be processed on-premise by the decision engine and the organization’s composition tools for production.
When taking this approach, the insurance organization should also ensure that the hybrid cloud provider aligns with any applicable compliance and regulatory standards and also provides secure connectivity and follows the organization’s controls related to the access of customer data.
Overall, a hybrid cloud CCM approach enables an agile, secure and less costly way for insurers to achieve customized customer communications. Not only will the risk of penalties from non-compliance as well as operating costs be less, the opportunities to differentiate from the competition and enhance the customer experience through effective communications will be increased.