The insurance industry faced a wake-up call when the pandemic exposed just how unprepared insurers’ digital capabilities were in a crisis. But, in the past two years – particularly in 2021 – the industry has accelerated its digital development, making significant leaps forward in technology investments, workforce evolution and strategic planning.
Now, new SMA research shows that 100% of property & casualty insurers have digital initiatives underway. How will these initiatives and other trends unfold in the coming months? If the past two years have taught us anything, it is that the industry is constantly shifting and adapting to the needs of the world around it. So, with that in mind, below are SMA’s top five predictions for 2022.
1. Core implementation will remain hot: Core systems – policy, billing and claims – have always been foundational in the insurance industry. But insurers now recognize that the core systems of the past will not cut it in today’s digital-driven environment. Insurers need modern platforms that can plug and play with different channels and absorb new data sources. SMA predicts that core systems will remain a principal focus for insurers this year as many get ready to launch or are in the middle of rolling out new platforms. However, a slight dip in core deals is also expected.
2. The customer experience will receive a greater focus: SMA sees more carriers embracing an outside-in lens this year to truly understand the needs of agents, brokers and policyholders. Insurers will focus on tailoring the customer experience as well as designing self-service systems that provide customers with convenient ways to communicate with their insurers when and how they want.
3. Overcoming talent challenges will be a priority: Acquiring and retaining top talent will be a No. 1 issue for many insurance companies in 2022. The industry already faced talent challenges prior to the pandemic when more of the workforce was retiring and exiting the industry and fewer were entering. In recent months, the Great Resignation has added additional strain as employers struggle to retain employees. Insurers recognize that recruiting only from local talent pools is no longer enough to fill open job positions and will have to up their game to compete against other employers in today’s competitive job market.
4. MGA boom/Insurtech maturity will continue: Over the last five years, SMA has been tracking nearly 100 startup MGAs in the North American market. At the same time, incumbent MGAs are innovating their own operations and pursuing large acquisitions. SMA predicts that the MGA boom will only continue its rapid pace. Insurtech will also continue to mature and affect the industry as new entrants come into the market and older firms succeed with their current projects.
5. Digital/AI intake will be a must: The insurance industry cannot afford to focus on paper forms and cumbersome manual processes. Digital and AI intake will be a massive priority across every sector of the industry in 2022 as companies work toward automating processes and improving the extraction and analysis of data.
For more insights on insurers’ plans and priorities in 2022, watch SMA’s new on-demand webinar, “P&C Insurance and the Pandemic: 2021 Reflections, 2022 Predictions.”