March 22, 2019
AI and Results-Driven Innovation
by Ira Sopic
Insurance companies that commit to AI to the same extent as top-performing businesses could boost their revenue by an average 17%.
Data is more abundant than ever, yet in many cases is unstructured, disparate and, well, just very big. Customers now demand seamless, omnichannel and personalized service, and, with a shortage of technical expertise hitting every industry, leveraging the availability of data and the potential of technology is difficult.
Moreover, as first movers begin to reap the rewards of integrating advanced technologies, time is running short. As Accenture’s Future Workforce Survey recently found, insurance companies that commit to AI to the same extent as “top-performing businesses could boost their revenue by an average 17%” by 2022. It is therefore incumbent on those that have not acted to do so now, or face irrelevancy.
See also: Insurance: On the Cusp of Disruption
Despite the upheaval, opportunities are arising as carriers learn how to leverage changes in their environment. Insurance Nexus spoke to insurance data experts Paul Travers (SVP of finance technology, data and process, MetLife) and Amish Amin (director, claims data analytics, Nationwide) for their perspectives on how carriers can leverage AI, machine learning and chatbots to improve profitability, turbocharge customer experience and make the most of the explosion in data and computing power.
Our discussions first centered on defining and describing the types of disruption in evidence across the insurance spectrum, with three phenomena in particular having profound impacts: the proliferation of data, rising customer expectations and a lack of suitable talent among the workforce. Addressing these drivers will necessitate changes from top to bottom, from insurance companies’ use of technology to organizational structures and the very nature of job functions that have remained constant for decades. Suffice to say that understanding the causes of disruption is key in such a rapidly shifting environment.
The theme of data is very much at the forefront of carriers’ minds. As Travers says, “Insurance is just ripe for disruption…[because] the availability of both structured and unstructured data is unprecedented.” More data may sound promising, but coming from many different internal and external sources and types of technology, the result is “disparate, unstructured data” that makes “traditionally used methods of analysis much harder.” Yet, with the right data governance structures and technology in play, the potential is enormous: MetLife enabled prescriptive analytics of business drivers to unlock real-time decision making.
Among all the talk of technology and processes, customers themselves were never far behind the scenes and possibly represent the greatest impetus for insurance carriers to act now. More and more B2C brands (not just insurance) are taking the customer experience as their starting point for innovation due to the influence of new players: agile and digitally native start-ups. These organizations, which have typically arrived on the scene in the past decade, have a massive advantage in that they do not have multiple legacy systems to contend with, so creating a cohesive, personalized and digital experience is easier (relatively speaking, of course).
Ultimately, customers vote with their wallets and have demonstrated the appeal of these types of on-demand, personalized and omnichannel service (see the successes of Lemonade, Hippo and Metromile). Legacy carriers need to match these standards and in the process will find manifold benefits other than just to the customer experience. Amin detailed unexpected benefits that Nationwide encountered after revising aspects of the customer interface, which included massive time savings for call-handling agents, as well as the improvement to the customer journey and more efficient processes.
See also: New Phase for Innovation in Insurance
Advanced technology and all the data in the world mean very little, however, without the technical expertise and business knowledge needed to analyze data, draw insights and apply them in the real world; “You can’t just get a data scientist to come and solve your insurance problems,” one executive says. Although some organizations have set up partnerships and skills pipelines with local schools, colleges and universities to tap into the next generation of data scientists, few carriers have the resources to hire and train a new team with the required technological expertise and insurance business acumen. There will have to be more creative hiring and training practices than have traditionally been employed in insurance, and our experts shared several strategies to finding and creating the workforce with the right requisite blend of talents, skills and experience.
The whitepaper, Results-Driven Innovation: Turbocharging Insurance Proﬁtability and CX with AI, Machine Learning and Chatbots, was created in association with Insurance Nexus’ sixth annual Insurance AI and Analytics USA Summit, taking place May 2-3, 2019, at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Chicago. Expecting over 450 senior attendees from across analytics and business leadership teams, the event will explore how insurance carriers can harness AI and advanced analytics to meet increasing customer demands, optimize operations and improve profitability. For more information, please visit the website here.