The Innovative Tech Supporting Key Business Differentiators

Alexis Iglauer, Head of Analytics & Technology, Life & Health, shares his view on the importance of focusing on the new technologies most likely to support business differentiators.

Articles on insurance “tech trends” often focus on specific technologies and the impacts that these will have on our industry, or indeed the world. Looking back, however, many have proven less effective or slower to deploy than initially thought. Today, to avoid such deliberations, we should instead ask ourselves which differentiators in our business can be most profoundly supported by new technologies. There are two key areas.

Let’s start with our industry’s ongoing drive for internal efficiency. With competition today as high as ever, having the infrastructure and technology to run your business a) cost-effectively and b) with a largely remote workforce (and salesforce), is a key differentiator. The current crop of technologies supporting this change range from foundational infrastructure (networking and security) and document digitization, to workflow and decision support. The latter is the area where there is the most potential – if we can tap into company, industry and third-party data, we can improve our risk insights, automate the “easy choices”, and allow our specialists to focus on the value-adding activities for which the computer has no answers. There is room for improvement here across the entire value chain: from accelerated underwriting based on predictive models, to claims processing triage; from the call center where we can place relevant information at the agent’s fingertips, to the boardroom, where we can make smarter decisions based on data insights.

The second key differentiator relates to the changing way that consumers expect to interact with their insurer and insurance cover. The client wants to know that they are adequately and cost-effectively protected, and that this protection will stay up-to-date with their changing needs over time. In reality, for most insureds this is not the case. Meeting this expectation requires a deeper understanding of the client across the lifetime of the policy, not just a single deep dive at the underwriting stage and potentially again if there’s a claim. Delivering this view requires the collection and connection of many different data points on the individual, involving the unified storage of disparate data, advanced analytics techniques to analyze the data, as well as flexible marketing and administration systems to manage the ongoing interactions with the client. The underlying technologies to do this already exist – a glance at our phones reveals multiple apps and services that already leverage these technologies. Insurers that are best able to execute in this space will have an advantage.

One of the things to appreciate in the insurance industry is that the application of innovative technology is fundamentally collaborative. Banks tend to see FinTech as a disruptive threat. In contrast, the InsurTech environment is made up of a wide range of specialized providers for separate parts of the value chain, few of which are trying to disrupt the entire industry. The challenge now for each insurer is to have the technology platform and execution capability to bring these offerings together into a competitive product for the client.

 

First published in MarketFacts, April 2021.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. This article is for general information, education and discussion purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice and does not necessarily reflect, in whole or in part, any corporate position, opinion or view of PartnerRe or its affiliates.

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