The personal lines segment is known for leading the charge with innovations and technologies – a reputation that only strengthened during the pandemic. From digital underwriting submissions and virtual inspections to digital first notice of loss (FNOL) and other capabilities, personal line insurers were poised to meet the new digital needs of customers and employees when other industries struggled to adapt to the virtual era. However, in enhancing processes and workflows to adjust to the pandemic's demands, insurers also uncovered gaps in their digital capabilities, forcing them to reexamine their existing projects and identify new opportunities.
A recent SMA study shows that 41% of personal lines insurers are revisiting their digital transformation strategies in 2022, a significant jump from 19% in 2021. This heightened activity indicates the acceleration of the digital projects identified in SMA's new research report, "Digital Transformation in Personal Lines: Project Priorities for 2022 and Beyond."
Unsurprisingly, personal lines insurers are most focused on expanding policyholders' self-service capabilities. With the pandemic creating the essential need for capabilities such as obtaining a policy, paying a bill or filing a claim online, customers now expect sophisticated systems that allow them to interact with their insurers when and how they want. Half of all insurers focused on personal lines are also implementing digital platforms. Because digital platforms leverage application programming interfaces (APIs) and low- and no-code technologies that allow for connectivity from various channels, SMA is seeing more and more insurers of all sizes shifting from portals to platform technology. Other projects aimed at leveraging emerging technologies are also rising on the priority lists of personal lines insurers as they complete their upgrades of more foundational technologies.
See also: Foundational Tech for Personal Lines
Although signs point to continued digital transformation acceleration across personal lines in the coming years, competition will only grow fiercer as progress gains momentum. Insurers that pause their digital projects for too long risk falling behind peers, losing distribution partners and being dismissed by current or potential customers. To stand out in the saturated personal lines market, insurers must commit to modernizing capabilities to serve agents, policyholders and employees and push forward in their digital transformation journeys.