Are Seamless Customer Experiences Out of Reach for All But the Biggest Insurers?

Renowned insurance industry leaders have leveraged technology to drive customer convenience and lower FTE costs. Why is it so difficult for the other insurers to provide the same level of customer service capabilities to their insureds, or at the very minimum, their agents?

July 19, 2022

Modern consumers expect to be able to access product information and complete basic service tasks from the convenience of their smartphones or laptops. This is true across all industries; including banking, shopping, and entertainment. However, accessing insurance services digitally can still be a difficult process. Insurance customers often have to jump through hoops and move through excessive touchpoints to get the help or information they need, if it’s available online at all. Customers, already stressed at the prospect of dealing with insurance issues, need easy, intuitive access to information on a digital platform that reduces friction, excessive back and forth communication, and time lags.  

Consumers routinely receive copious amounts of information from their insurer, usually delivered by mail, or basic email marketing (one step up from carrier pigeons!). What impact could it have on your business, in the form of upselling and referrals, for instance, if consumers could electronically view documents, review coverages, initiate correspondence with their MGA/carrier/agency, post and view payment details, or easily see the status of a claim? In a complex but necessary industry, ease of doing business should be a core selling point among market leaders.  

Giving consumers access to technology to manage their policies should go beyond simple payment posting. Renowned industry names like USAA, GEICO, and Progressive have leveraged technology (the cost of which has dropped precipitously in the past 5 years) to drive customer convenience and lower FTE costs.  Why is it so difficult for the other insurers to provide the same level of customer service capabilities to their insureds, or at the very minimum, their agents? It could be that carriers are bogged down by a decades-long technology lag and struggle to determine how, where and when technology can be deployed within their sales and service structure.  

Rob Whitton, DRC’s VP of Business Development, testifies to the technological delays he has seen firsthand in the industry: “In my 20 years of selling enterprise software to the insurance industry, the fundamental reasons to purchase a new system are to replace (and dangerously sometimes replicate), the old system. Most projects aim to deliver the basic functionality on the new platform to conduct normal business operations. Consumer portals are always a Day 2, if not a Day 3 (or never) consideration due to the huge technological gulf between the expiring ancient system and the modern platform offerings that keep emerging.”  

But in today’s efficient low code/no code environment, there is no need to delay new functionality offerings in agent and customer experiences. Enhancing system functionality can be budget-friendly and can turn slow-growth carriers into market leaders. But deploying technology for technology’s sake can be a waste of time and money and may open the organization to unnecessary risk. Carriers need an experienced technology partner who has worked across the industry and with all levels of system infrastructure sophistication to assist them with prioritizing user self-service capabilities. 

It is never too late to upgrade your systems to serve your agents and customers. No matter what a carrier’s current state of technological sophistication, measures can be taken to select a technology and architecture that is proven in the market. A modern cloud-provisioned solution using mainstream programming techniques and technologies, microservices architecture, and mainstream data persistence is extremely flexible and customizable, allowing for rapid expansion of capabilities when necessary. Inevitable modification and enhancement efforts do not need to be a painful process with a modern technology foundation. These adjustments can now be implemented without expensive technical specialists who are in short supply. It’s one thing to purchase a black box service for data enrichment or validation, but it is infinitely more comforting to de-risk your 10+ year investment by backing it with a core platform technology that is both field tested and has community and industry support to stay relevant.  

Let’s take a look at Microsoft and Amazon Webservices (AWS). AWS offers impressive newly emerging technologies for every conceivable part of an insurance platform architecture. However, the viability of AWS services can be fleeting over time. Conversely, DRC’s solutions are backed by the curated Microsoft Azure platform that features a smaller number of technology options with greater industry support. This assures that a solution launched today on Azure has a much greater chance of remaining technologically relevant for five years or longer. 

Stability, availability, and usability are all key attributes of the Azure platform. DRC prides itself on having a robust, componentized platform delivered via the Azure ecosystem. DRC uses the talents of readily available .Net and JavaScript developers, with Microsoft Azure SQL database administrators and Azure cloud engineers to deliver a modern insurance processing platform. That includes digital underwriting and partner portals and, importantly, agent/broker and consumer platforms. These modern, speedy, accurate, connected online experiences are now a standard expectation among all audiences. The recent innovative leaps like underwriting workbenches, advanced analytic models, and other industry specific capabilities all complement the already-established core insurance platform. DRC’s commitment to customer success is reflected in our robust library of 130+ open APIs – a capability that can propel carriers from primarily analog interactions to digitally-delighted customers in weeks. This helps create the seamless agent and customer experience that was, until recently, a fantasy for many insurers, but is now an affordable reality.  

While the lags in the insurance industry are looming, DRC is committed to consistent innovation and thought leadership. Chat with us at ITC Vegas at booth 2969 this year in September and find out what’s next for insurtech and the future of insurance.