To modernise the insurance industry, focus on creating a frictionless customer experience.
"It's all down to which firms can best meet customer needs through frictionless experiences."
So says EY in their 2022 Global Insurance Outlook. But most insurance carriers are still struggling to provide consumer-grade experiences to their customers and distributors. Whether you’re a policyholder, agent, or broker, the word “frictionless” rarely if ever comes to mind when dealing with an insurance carrier.
Frictionless experiences apply across the entire customer journey, regardless of use case. And to be clear: experience goes far beyond standing up a front-end tool like a CRM or chatbot. It’s about connecting systems and processes across the entire value chain.
In today's competitive insurance landscape, succeeding means changing the way we collect, aggregate, and move information between stakeholders. Carriers must eliminate time-consuming manual processes, paperwork, emails, spreadsheets, and redundant data gathering with fill-in-the-blank PDFs. End-to-end digital processes, supported by smart technology, make work better—for customers, distributors, and employees.
The technology solution for people
According to McKinsey, "insurers with more sophisticated IT capabilities have an obvious advantage in terms of agility, growth, and cost ratios, and they are better able to match the increased need for digital offerings." And Deloitte states that technology budgets will rise by 13.7% in 2022.
Carriers know the solution to the experience problem is technology. I would challenge those carriers to think differently about how and where they choose to invest those dollars.
To begin with, it's essential to take a holistic view of the people involved: employees, partners, and policyholders. Consider long-term goals, including sustainability and governance, to determine where technology can make the biggest impact. By thinking differently and using technology as a tool for work orchestration, carriers can change the way work gets done.
[Ready to modernise your insurance experience? Download this free guide.]
This modernised customer experience is the key to becoming a carrier of choice. So take some time to ask yourself a few crucial, big-picture questions: Is a new claims admin system going to help me manage adjusters out in the field? Is a core system of record going to take years to implement? Is it possible to finally retire our mainframe system? Is there a better way to navigate the complexity of core system upgrades while improving processes?
Most importantly: Is this a solution that can deliver frictionless experiences for our customers, employees, and partners?
It all starts with thinking differently about how people and technology work together.
Automate, then hyperautomate
One of my customers recently said, "No one sets out to create an inefficient process." Yet that's where many carriers find themselves: stuck in an endless loop of patchwork processes, pivoting between email, spreadsheets, legacy systems of record, and a CRM, all while competing with well-funded insurtechs.
Hyperautomation—the practice of orchestrating emerging technologies such as robotic process automation, AI, and virtual agents on a digital platform—is the future. But to get there, you need a disciplined approach to coordinating these multiple tools and technologies. This includes the thoughtful digitisation of information throughout an automated process. Once a process is automated, it can then be optimised and improved with machine learning. And it all starts with thinking differently about how people and technology work together.
Automated doesn't mean impersonal
AI cannot, and will not, replace the need for human contact within the insurance experience. But automation and efficiency are critical to creating a frictionless customer journey.
Intelligent digital workflows and frictionless processes provide the humans in the experience with more flexibility and more time to attend to customers. Digitisation can help insurers process a growing volume of data quickly and contextualise it to be more empathetic to what customers need when they need it. And that will lead to an effortless, more modern insurance experience for everyone.
This article was originally published on ServiceNow's Forbes BrandVoice page.