Insurance businesses that thrive in the marketplace must continue to innovate.
However, innovation can be a slow process filled with risk.
Three executives recently joined host Angie Sinclair from insurtech platform INSTANDA to discuss pairing modern technology with innovation to grow operational efficiency and premium.
One key takeaway the panelists agreed on: growth doesn’t have to come at the expense of cost savings.
In fact, AIA President Patrick Albrecht focused on growth.
“If you’re not growing, you’re becoming stagnant,” he said. “Because of that, you lose efficiency, and the motivation and excitement that comes with growth.”
Improving The Customer Experience Can Fuel Growth
Panelists discussed the importance of customer relationships and the customer journey to realize growth.
Developing Customer Relationships Is Crucial
A big focus for Albrecht was enabling underwriters to further establish relationships with customers with new integrations.
“One of the greatest fears that we run into when introducing new technology is that it’s being done to replace people in order to achieve ROI,” he said.
“We never intend to replace people,” he continued. “Our intention is to make them more productive.”
As a result, AIA has found the underwriters spend less time entering data and can access more information so that the ROI becomes more about growth and less about reducing costs.
“It’s tough to recreate the personal touch with technology,” he said.
Understand The Customer Journey To Identify Efficiency Improvements
While technology can’t replace developing personal relationships, it may be able to help with different types of claims.
Stacey Brown, founder of Insurtech Hartford, said he believes claims is an area where businesses can get savings while focusing on customer experience.
“If an organization has the same standardized process for a $10 million property claim or a $500 glass claim, maybe you’d realize that some processes can benefit from more automation. If you start from the customer perspective and ask how you can make the smaller, simpler claims better for the customer, you might wind up with cost savings at the same time.”
5 Tips For Implementing Technology For Insurance
The panelists also boiled down five considerations when it comes to innovation in insurance.
1. Squash Misconceptions Early
Jason Russon, director of sales and marketing at Inscipher, argued against perceptions people can have about technology.
“One misconception is that new technology is going to difficult to learn or implement,” he said, “but the reality is that technology isn’t all that helpful to the market unless it’s easy to use.”
2. Have Specific Goals In Mind To Avoid Scope Creep
Technology implementation often suffers from missed timelines and overblown budgets.
Unlike traditional waterfall implementations, Brown urges an agile approach in which he asks:
“How do we get speed to value—how do we identify where we can add the most value and how do we focus on getting there faster?”
Instead of mapping out a 24-month implementation program, he urges leaders to focus on one milestone at a time to make timelines and scope more manageable.
3. Size Matters
When pursuing innovation, the panelists urged businesses to understand how they operate.
Smaller organizations are typically more nimble, while larger organizations often move slower.
“It takes patience for these larger organizations, but it does pay off without fail,” Russon said. “It really comes down to strong leadership. The leader has to believe in change, sell that change, and have the right people in place to see that change implemented.”
4. Once You’ve Implemented New Technology, Help Your Team Adopt It
“It’s not easy” adopting new technology, Brown said.
He added that he’s seen technology get delivered on time and within scope, only for people to refuse to use it.
“I think you have to look at the problem you’re solving and make sure that the change you want to make with the technology can be properly institutionalized and adopted,” he continued.
One way to encourage adoption is with a rigorous evaluation process before ever signing a contract with a solution provider.
First, Albrecht suggested identifying potential vendors at an insurtech conference, for example.
Then, filter your list and meet with vendors you feel may have a good solution for you.
Finally, reach out to those vendors’ customers to discuss what it’s like working with that particular vendor.
“That’s what we ended up doing in our last project,” Albrecht said. “We talked to a few of the company's customers before we engaged with them and got some really great feedback that solidified our confidence in what the company could do to help solve our problem.”
5. Address Misconceptions About Artificial Intelligence
Sometimes, an organization may restructure and redefine roles, ultimately leading to job losses.
Yet, Brown argued that there is a talent crunch in insurance right now.
“Companies are more apt nowadays to upskill, cross-skill, and retain those roles because companies need the talent,” he said.
“Anybody who might feel they’re in a transformation program and at risk of losing their job probably doesn’t have as much to worry about as they thought they did,” he continued.
Our thanks to INSTANDA for hosting this panel.
*The quotes in this post have been lightly edited for clarity.