How COVID Has Accelerated the Race for Organizations to Digitize

September 15, 2020

Of the many shocks that COVID has brought, one of the most charged for many industries including insurance has been the pressing urgency to automate. COVID has rendered previously in-person or manual processes suddenly impractical if not impossible, hastening the scramble to find digital solutions capable of fast implementation, an easy integration with existing systems and all at an acceptable price point given the economic uncertainty brought on by the virus.

Here we examine the race to automate in the insurance industry, and offer actionable tips on how to transition to automation quickly and painlessly.

Why the rush?
Working from home and the closing of physical work spaces began as urgent responses to quell a rising pandemic, however remote work now looks here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Carriers are decreasing the footprints of their physical offices, but also now taking the opportunity to make decisions about and invest in long-heralded digitization projects which previously had been less pressing imperatives.

The current disruptions affords insurers an unparalleled opportunity for innovation. Earlier, digitization projects were often relegated to “nice to have” priority lists, as organizations subsisted on slower manual processes and older technology systems simply because they worked well…enough.
Now, however, digitization has taken on an urgency felt through the ranks up to the C-Suite, and budget and resources are allocated at a rapid clip.

Serving Customers
Despite COVID’s attempt to slow things down, the world continues to turn, and carriers need the capacity to respond quickly to customer needs. Previously time-consuming processes such as billing and claims can now be solved with API solutions that speed integration with legacy systems and improve the consumer experience. Legacy Excel-based and other processes like pricing with manual raters can now find more efficient systems in the insurtech ecosystem.

All of these innovations ultimately benefit both the efficiency of the business, but also the customer, reducing claim turnaround time, paperwork, misunderstandings across antiquated communication channels and subsequently improving consumer loyalty and retention.

Improving Developer Experience
Adopting digital processes is a process in itself. Carriers are looking for robust options that integrate easily with legacy systems, keep the cost and time required of their developers down, are easy to maintain and provide real operational savings and benefits. An increase in the adoption of APIs, for example, can free up developer time for more high-value work.

Analytics For the Homerun
Tools and processes that improve analytics capabilities comprise a hugely important component of the digitization ecosystem for insurers. The democratization of data, whereby non-technical teams and individuals at a carrier query data systems independently without the time-consuming back-and-forth of involving IT teams helps optimize the speed, efficiency and reliability of business decisions.

Deep analytics provide unparalleled insights into a carrier’s data, linking previously disparate variables and uncovering novel and important patterns that help keep costs and risk down and reveal new pockets of revenue.

Streamlining the decision-making process
COVID has also impacted RFP processes, purchasing managers and vendor selection committees. Many vendors have formed important partnerships with carriers to help expedite the due diligence of the RFP process, resulting in faster decisions and more efficient outcomes.

Carriers should look for a solid product match, rapid implementation plans, integration support and a vendor who will function more as a partner for the long-term than simply a digital technology provider.

Key takeaways

  • COVID has increased the urgency of the digitization process for insurance carriers, with the transition to work from home and a smaller physical footprint in offices.
  • Consumer underlying needs haven’t changed, though expectations have, as customers look to their carriers for fast, easy decisions and solutions to their dilemmas.
  • Digitization benefits the IT team as well, decreasing the time and resources required for new technology adoption.
  • Carriers have found that a streamlined RFP process can bring new systems up and running faster than ever before, yielding expedited results and ROI.
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