Shehzad Shah examines digitalisation in the insurance sector and looks at how technology can ensure maximum customer engagement.
There’s no escaping the fact that we’re living in a digital world. Almost all aspects of both our work and personal lives have become digitalised to a certain extent, with digital innovations opening up opportunities the world over. For consumers in particular, rising digitalisation has led to rapid changes in customer expectations, where an abundance of social media channels and price comparison sites have meant that customers have access to more information than ever before. For the insurance sector in particular, this increased access to information has put an end to traditionally loyal customer bases, with customers changing providers more often, looking at value rather than price, and opting for policies that are tailored to their specific requirements.
More than a shop window
The insurance sector has responded by investing in digital technologies to create slick, intuitive customer-facing websites, in an effort to give consumers the information they need in an easily accessible package. But, in our increasingly digital world, investing solely in the online shop window really isn’t enough, with tech-savvy insurers investing heavily in business-critical back office technology, getting their own digital house in order to maximise the opportunities that a digitised business can bring. For more established providers who have yet to invest, data-rich and tech-enabled newcomers to the market are stealing market share left, right and centre, using technology and techniques developed by other sectors to maximise the sheer volumes of customer data and interactions that are an everyday part of running an insurance business.
The insurance industry has always been good at collecting customer information and, to a certain extent, analysing this information for customer profiling. So great are the volumes of information now involved in this increasingly digitised marketplace, digital innovation needs to spread across the organisation, helping to further engage with customers and open-up vital commercial opportunities in a very competitive marketplace. With the right solution in place, insurance businesses can develop their customer engagement, providing unprecedented levels of business and customer insight to not only meet customer needs more effectively, but to also build up more accurate customer profiles to fine-tune the underwriting process and ultimately, mitigate risk.
What insurance businesses need in place is a flexible, efficient system in place to pull together that all-important business-critical data from all areas of the business, analysing this data quickly and effectively to provide the required levels of business insight. Many insurance companies are still operating with a combination of spreadsheets and a range of disparate departmental IT solutions. The end result being there is no central repository for all information and any pulling-together of information is time-consuming, error-prone and inefficient. What this leads to is slow decision-making, with key decisions often made based on incorrect and out-of-date information. For such a fiercely competitive marketplace as the insurance sector, effective management of a company’s financial management is not possible, particularly when we live an age whereby we are all seeking a definitive ‘one source of the truth’.
Market leading financial management software solutions span the entire organisation, enabling users to produce comprehensive and timely reports that are easy to digest, giving key decision-makers the right information at the right time to make real sense of business and customer data. It’s only with this level of business transparency and analysis in place that insurance companies can hope to alter their strategy to capitalise on all existing and future business opportunities, be it through offering a more tailor-made approach to policies, implementing customer-facing digital-focussed projects, or simply increasing overall business efficiency to save money.
Keeping customers engaged
As with the majority of businesses operating in the digital world, for insurance companies, it doesn’t matter how much data you have, it’s what you do with it that counts. An all-singing, all-dancing website might look very nice and initially draw-in customers, but without the comprehensive operational digitisation needed to support the rest of the business, a slick new website will soon lose its shine. With robust digitised processes in place across the business, customers will be engaged and will stay engaged as the business will be able to offer the customised, responsive and efficient service that is ultimately what customers are looking for, standing the business in good stead for today and tomorrow. Now is the time to plan and those who wait run the real risk of being taken over by newcomers to the marketplace who had the foresight to cut their digital cloth according to the current digital world in which we all operate. Don’t be left behind because you can guarantee that your customers won’t wait for you.
What to look for in a solution for the insurance sector:
- You need a scalable solution that will grow with your business – don’t let your systems stifle your potential.
- You need a solution that can deal with the specific issues relating to the insurance sector. Don’t be led into believing that works for one sector will work for all.
- The same for size. Size does matter so choose a solution that’s designed to cater for businesses of your scope and size.
- Work with a partner who has experience of implementing solutions with businesses similar to yours. You can’t underestimate the value of experience.
- It must be easy to use. If you want to guarantee maximum levels of user uptake, it needs to be intuitive.