With social distancing measures allowing fewer and fewer in-person interactions, all types of businesses are evaluating which of their typical activities can be shifted to digital platforms effectively. The drive to get more customers on digital is so powerful that many insurers are left playing catch-up; the pandemic caught many out as they were still working on modernizing their IT systems, so they transferred some customer-facing activities to websites and apps and pushed the customer-expectation bar that little bit higher.
Even insurers that had been preparing for the digital shift and had invested in integration and modernization of their infrastructure are struggling to keep up with volumes and new demands. Although they were aware of the importance of digital transformation, the urgency of virtualizing meetings with advisers, of providing self-service client onboarding for a complete range of products or of virtualizing damage assessments, had not been top priority.
In fact, scenarios that previously seemed like nice-to-haves have suddenly escalated to urgent, while more futuristic alternatives, such as screen-sharing and CRM-integrated video-conferencing, are now commonly seen as critical enhancements to enable competitive advantage. CIOs and their teams are urgently assessing which new business scenarios need to be enabled and how.
These scenarios include new features that respond to customer pressure for more self-service, improved user experience and 24/7 access to information. At the same time, however, the scenarios also enable greater security, antifraud measures and stronger compliance. Some key examples that insurers should be harnessing now are:
1. Self-service channels
As more and more users turn to digital to carry out self-service operations such as checking the status of their claim 24/7 over a wide range of devices, the need to develop engaging and intuitive front-ends becomes more pressing.
These need to be easily integrated with back-end systems without requiring complex and lengthy projects. They also need to provide 24-hour availability of information and peak volume handling without affecting back-end system performance.
2. Increased sales team efficiency
It is not just customers that demand access to information wherever they are and at any time of the day; brokers and sales teams also now need to access customer information remotely using a range of different devices (smartphones, tablet computers, etc.). This information enables them to be more effective in promoting, up-selling and cross-selling as well as developing personalized insurance plans.
3. 360° picture of the client and profiled cockpits
A 360-degree view of the client’s situation requires access to a lot of information, often archived in various back-end systems in different formats. Profiled cockpits and dashboards can gather all this information in a single location as well as including deadlines, notifications and suggestions on actions.
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The availability of integrated information deriving from all back-end systems that is updated 24/7 could be a game-changer in fighting fraud. Not only should the business be able to access and integrate all its own information on the customer in a single view (such as previous claims or credit score for example), but it should be possible to integrate information from satellites or third parties such as IoT, big data or open data sources, for example.
5. Simpler, faster onboarding
Onboarding is often a source of irritation for customers who would like to be able to get it done as rapidly and smoothly as possible. Digitalizing this process is critical to ensure the longevity of insurance companies in this period of social distancing, and customers have long been demanding it. By carrying out the process from their own home, where they have access to any required documents, customers save time and are less inconvenienced, and advisers are able to focus on more complex and valuable tasks.
6. Virtual video collaboration
This scenario enables a series of activities that are highly valuable to insurance businesses, starting from video recognition of the customer in the onboarding stage, right through to enabling insurers to carry out video appraisals of accident damage, for example.
Video damage appraisals can, in fact, be carried out over video by the client, without the insurance assessor visiting the customer home or the mechanic, but simply via a video call recording short video snippets and taking screenshots. It is crucial to be able to easily store these video-snippets and screenshots directly into the claims application on one side, and into the corporate client app, on the other.
Another typical use case is the capability to run video meetings with clients and other experts and then seamlessly integrate them into the CRM system. These meetings range from video support and desktop sharing while quoting a policy, to actual video consultancy sessions. Video that is shared between agents or advisers and the customer over a screen may be browsed and commented on together and forms a key part of the customer experience, so it needs to be part of the customer view. Integrating this video with digital channels such as apps as well as the CRM system helps provide a more complete customer view and better decision making, including by providing more tailored products.
7. Improved, modern UX
All these business scenarios simplify processes both for the customer and for internal teams, but they depend on having a modern, multichannel interactive user experience. New platforms for digital touchpoints must be designed to maximize ease of use and user experience quality, while integrating legacy back ends in real time.
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It’s clear that each business needs to evaluate where its processes are obsolete and inhibit achieving these new scenarios. There is some low-hanging fruit just waiting to be integrated with the support of industry specialist partners, and some more complex but incredibly rewarding processes that can also be embarked on. Whichever route insurers decide to take to reach digital transformation of business scenarios, it is clear that the global pandemic has accelerated the pace.