Machines Are Taking Over; Or Are They?

Machines have not taken over, nor will they. They have just greatly improved the human element of the claims process.

In my 20 or so years’ experience in the insurance industry I have seen many companies struggle to successfully invest in technology. For those of you who remember Y2K, that was a time of change where critical functionality had to be added to legacy policy administration systems (PAS) to support the new millennium. Many insurers tried to solve two problems with one solution, by implementing new PAS platforms. In many cases, this strategy failed, and insurers found they still had to update their old legacy platforms. After this debacle, many insurers were leery about new technology platforms, which has led to an extensive period of stagnation in the system replacement business. I was reading a Novarica study recently and was interested to see that large life and annuity insurers plan to invest over 50% of their IT budgets on "grow" and "transform" projects in 2019. Even more interestingly, a significant portion of this effort will be assigned to digital and data analytics projects. To give this some context, Novarica defines "grow" initiatives as significant changes, new product or process introductions or an extension of current system capabilities, without significantly altering the system architecture. "Transform" initiatives involve a significant investment such as legacy system modernization or introducing completely new capabilities. I recently talked to an insurer about its annual budget and was told me that it spends 80% of the IT budget just standing still; that does not leave a lot for new initiatives. I was beginning to wonder if insurers are concerned about how these types of technological advancements will affect their claim departments. It’s human nature to fear change, and we’ve certainly seen this while engaging with teams on claims transformation projects. This is relatively unknown territory, and only a small number of global insurers have implemented these initiatives and seen significant results. See also: Machine Vision Usage in Insurance   One of the problems insurers have to face is current infrastructure, where data is in silos and there is a lot of baling twine holding systems together. The infrastructure is like a house built in quicksand, probably not the best foundation! Machines in Action I am always curious to see how big initiatives pay off – as a product company, we’re always trying to see how these technological initiatives are being applied in real-life scenarios. Here are two examples that I think are worth sharing. They are from different areas of the insurance industry; one from P&C and one from L&A. Safe-guard, a motor insurance company, has partnered with Kofax, an RPA provider, to move their claims process from being paper-heavy to a more streamlined, automated process. Paper documents are now scanned and uploaded to a central system where pertinent data is extracted from the documents and stored in the system. This "grow" project has increased productivity by 30% and has contributed to a 15% increase in customer satisfaction. MLC, an Australian life insurance company invested $300m AUSD on a digital transformation project to replace its seven legacy systems over two years. We were just one of the vendors; our software introduced an automated claim management tool into the ecosystem. Oracle Cloud Suite was brought in for its financials cloud and Taleo cloud solutions, while MLC built a new customer relationship portal to improve the customer experience, extending the portal to benefit policyholders and advisers. Both projects have resulted in significant results for both MLC and Safe-guard, and neither company has been taken over by machines. Instead, the technology they have implemented has helped both companies make significant process improvements, which has resulted in better customer experience, improved efficiency and increased market share. What About My Claims Department? These investments have paid off, and one thing is for sure; machines have not taken over, they have just improved the human element of the claims process. Safe-guard implemented RPA so the claims teams could provide better customer service with quicker turn-around times. MLC has transformed its claims process and is currently in the top three life insurance companies in Australia, with a market share of 12%. As a second phase, MLC is now looking to further invest in insurtech, offering life insurance discounts based on a policyholder’s health data, leveraging the data that can now be collected and analyzed. See also: How Robotics Will Transform Claims   So, although technology may be changing the environment around us, machines are merely helping us to meet the demands of these changes, which includes both employee and customer expectations, as well as bottom-line pressures. The bottom line is that machines are not coming to take over. They will make businesses more productive and efficient, providing employees with the tools to make their jobs easier and to gain more insights into claimants and policyholders to optimize product offerings, to meet the on-demand needs of today’s customers.

Leo Corcoran

Profile picture for user LeoCorcoran

Leo Corcoran

Leo Corcoran, CEO of ClaimVantage, has been in the insurance software business for over 20 years. Since establishing ClaimVantage, Corcoran has worked closely with customers and prospects to discuss their claim management processes and curated a company that tackles many pain points within the industry.

Read More