Tag Archives: low-code

Unlocking the Power of ‘No-Code’

For those of us in insurance, the journey to digital transformation has felt slow, challenged by regulations, legacy systems and complex business functions that require sophisticated solutions.

The pandemic has been a wakeup call: Digital is no longer an accessory but a necessity for any business. Effective digital technology is essential to meeting our customer needs and providing them with protection, security and peace of mind. We are at a pivotal moment, where we must overcome the barriers to digitization. 

No-code technology can play a key role. For decades, enterprises have relied on code to build and maintain software. But coding is extremely complex. It takes a long time to learn and master, and it’s time-consuming to write, update and maintain code. At the enterprise level, a reliance on code creates a system in which a select few who are responsible for building and maintaining software for the entire enterprise. This typically leads to high costs, slow timelines and sub-par outcomes. 

We’ve all seen this in action. A team comes up with a software idea or identifies a process that needs updating. The team brings the idea to developers (aka “coders”), who are already underwater with requests. The scope of the project is reduced, then takes 12 to 18 months to get off the ground. If requirements change, funding shifts or people change jobs, the project can fail entirely. 

No-code fundamentally changes this. No-code is exactly what it sounds like — a way to build software without using any code. No-code users build software using a visual interface that houses a library of configurable pre-built components. This approach expands the pool of people who can build software beyond those who can write code and frees developers to focus on truly complex problems. No-code allows companies to build complex, mission-critical applications faster, at a fraction of the cost and with fewer bugs.

No-code is a perfect fit for an industry like insurance, where a reliance on code has held us back from building and scaling the software we need to meet the moment. The potential use cases are vast. We already have great examples of how enterprise no-code is being used.

Digitizing business origination in life insurance

Traditionally, business origination processes have relied on paper processes or solutions built via coding. Multiple points of intake (e.g., paper, e-apps, digital) contribute to data inconsistencies, low adviser productivity and a sub-par customer experience. 

A top 10 life insurance company used Unqork’s no-code platform to digitize the business acquisition journey from end to end. Through a unified digital interface for advisers, customers and operations, the company streamlined policy administration and underwriting. Turnaround time for new business fell from over two months to less than 20 days on average. The company also reduced costs by 30% and enhanced the customer and adviser experience. 

See also: Digitally Challenged Miss Opportunities

Digitizing onboarding of the plan sponsor and adviser

For most insurers, client onboarding is incredibly time-consuming and costly. High-touch and heavily reliant on pen and paper, traditional processes yield sub-par results and are often rife with data inconsistencies. 

No-code can be used to create end-to-end, self-service solutions that automate sponsor, plan, servicing, pricing and adviser and third-party administrator (TPA) data capture. This digitized process allows for direct client outreach, integration with third-party data providers, due diligence assessment and seamless coordination across functions. 

A top five insurer used Unqork’s platform to digitize plan sponsor and adviser onboarding, accelerating client onboarding times from four weeks to three hours, decreasing the cost of operations and technology ownership while increasing revenue potential and improving client relationship management. 

Streamlining rate-quote-bind and policy administration

The policy administration process is notoriously inefficient. Insurers often rely on a number of different channels — phone, web, agent, self-service — and intake varies widely across channels. Agents often depend on the back office to receive an indicated rate and issue a policy, restricting agent productivity and delaying the rate-quote-bind process. Inefficient processes contribute to a significant administrative load and hurt the customer experience. 

Enterprise grade no-code can be used to automate the intake, quote, bind and issue processes for no-touch and underwriter workflows. These systems are user-friendly and optimized for mobile, to ensure a positive customer, agent and underwriter experience.   

A top insurer developed a policy administration system that allows agents to independently perform submission, quote, bind and issue processes. The paperless system was built in just six months, and the insurer experienced huge efficiency gains: more than 70% in quoting and more than 80% for binding and issuance. 

We’re just starting to scratch the surface of what no-code can do for insurance. There are endless use cases across the industry — with digital solutions for common, inefficient processes and bespoke applications for niche challenges. The potential is revolutionary: The industry can provide a better experience for carriers, agents and customers alike.

How Low-Code Accelerates Change

The insurance market’s newfound confidence in SaaS has had a knock-on effect for the possibilities and future of low-code platforms – to the benefit of both carriers and their customers. 

Talking technology, you often hear about “revolutions,” but I like to think of them as evolutions instead. 

Take low-code. Change has accelerated as a result of environmental stimuli (much of which was unexpected before the pandemic). For carriers, the issue became about how quickly and smartly could we design, implement and push out product. Oh, and once we’re there, let’s double down to promote speed and efficiency in areas that have a direct impact on business operations. 

Tackling the pressures of tomorrow meant innovating where we could today.

The knock-on effect from all of this? The “how can we leverage low-code” conversation no longer was simply about cost-cutting and innovating in the market – it quickly became a business priority. 

Smart individuals will tell you this was coming for days, months, years – you get the point. But I challenge anyone to have predicted the speed with which the shift occurred. Many can be forgiven for not being 100% prepared.

In the case of the pandemic (as we’ve seen before with catastrophes), the expectations on systems changed. Pressures increased, as did what’s demanded of software systems, as well as the stresses they are put under. 

This isn’t a siloed event, either. Pressure on systems puts pressure on processes and, in turn, pressure on people. If you’re not clear, cracks appear. 

So, what’s being asked of core systems now?

It’s all about velocity – plain and simple.

This need is directly related to using more effective technology and rethinking processes and workflows to solve both business and market problems in as close to real time as possible. 

In a nutshell, this is what organizations are trying to achieve with low-code. (This doesn’t mean all at once. For those organizations that didn’t have the ability, resources, etc. to make this transition, the change can be undertaken in bite-sized chunks. One product, one line of business, one region/deployment – or, in some cases, entire core platforms.)

How can we get there with low-code?

Here are three tangible ways that low-code makes achieving this pursuit of velocity possible for carriers:

  1. Broadening the tools at your disposal: Quite simply, low-code allows you to do more, with more tools at your disposal. These tools, when adapted to the right business problem, allow you to solve for more and uncover opportunities to truly reimagine workflows, refine processes and empower talent. 
  2. Making integrations easier: Many will argue this is the chief selling point – low-code makes interoperability easier and opens the doors to integrate data from a wider pool of sources. As insurance becomes closer to real time and increasingly personalized, these integrations (i.e. the speed with which data can be captured and used for a product or service) will go a long way in determining winners and losers in the new year and beyond. This won’t stop, either. More data, more analysis to do more with that data, quicker ways to act on what the data informs. It’s a snowball effect, and this is an area truly ripe for tools like automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more. 
  3. Simplifying content/creating better content: You can’t speak about low-code without content. At the end of the day, low-code tools make it easier to build content and to help customers, in addition to reduced implementation timelines. Having content that is ready-made to be used by a platform is invaluable. Anecdotally, there’s a shift happening where there’s now a focus on using “rules” to create and adapt content that solves for business problems in different regions or geographies. That’s the level of maturity we’re nearing in a highly regulated industry like insurance – which should excite those innovative problem-solvers out there.  

Anyone familiar with games or gaming systems? Here’s an analogy for you. Low-code and SaaS’s ecosystem of tools is the console. The content being hosted, produced and tailored – that’s the games. The more games you have, the more value your console is providing and the vaster the experiences you can provide. The games themselves? The more powerful the console (the tools), the deeper, wider, smarter the games are – which, in turn, provide ROI to the owner of the console. 

See also: Designing a Digital Insurance Ecosystem

For those who didn’t gravitate to that example: With platform maturity comes the ability to solve business problems with robustness and completeness. This is exciting and will be realized in 2021 and beyond.

What does this say about the current (and flourishing) SaaS-driven ecosystem in insurance?

In my opinion, it’s pretty clear the industry has (finally) moved from closed to open. Now, you’re not judged on a closed ecosystem; rather, you’re judged on solution partners and how easily you can integrate with others. 

It’s an open-book test, and the richness of ecosystems (and how they iterate and evolve over time) brings others into the fold. There’s no more set-and-forget – cloud-based platforms are always up to date, and it’s where low-code tools thrive.

Being open becomes key – and the cloud provides both access and security. Accessing these tools becomes even easier still – APIs, content kits, solution exchanges, etc. It’s all there and satisfies all comers.

More good news? Talking talent brings excitement – and the prospect of continued technology acceleration

Another reason I’ve heard excitement around low-code – the doors it opens for talent in the industry. Insurance will always be highly regulated, highly specialized, and highly dependent on human empathy. 

What this doesn’t call for is an army of developers to make solutions and products to solve for these problems. 

What it does call for is smart application and solution architects, for example. More brainpower to solve some of the industry’s biggest problems. Innovators bringing more intelligent and elegant solutions to solve for problems and improve value and experiences. 

With low-code tools as a part of your organization’s arsenal, you can shift hiring foci to meet these needs. Don’t worry about keeping the lights on; worry about being creative, innovative and groundbreaking in your approach to serving customers.  

New flavor will make us stronger.

In the end, what does this SaaS and low-code transition mean for customers in 2021 and beyond?

Empowerment. 

Ultimately, it will give individuals and carriers the power to choose what’s best for their organizations and strategic goals. It truly is a constantly refilled smorgasbord of the best tools the enterprise can offer, packaged in an accessible way that makes sense for insurance.

Leave overhead behind. Get on with driving greater ROI. Think long-term about improving total cost of ownership (TCO). Solve those bigger business challenges that can return greater satisfaction. 

Empowerment. It’s exciting to see insurance companies go on the offensive rather than playing catch-up. Watch and see!

A Game Changer for Digital Innovation

Every so often, an innovation emerges that forever changes the way people perform an everyday action and paves the way for future innovations. In the world of insurance software — especially customer-facing apps — a game changer today is low-code and no-code software development.

Low-code and no-code development enables people without extensive programming experience to design and create apps through a software platform’s configurability features and graphical user interfaces. That is a simple technical definition of low-code and no-code. In lay person’s terms, low-code and no-code is an innovation that makes digital transformation easier for businesses to execute, and that offers numerous advantages.

In the era of smartphones, we take for granted the ability to make a phone call that connects us to another person on the other side of the world, nearly instantly. A century ago, however, that was only a dream. The first commercially viable trans-Atlantic telephone call occurred in 1927, connecting executives in New York and London. Walter S. Gifford, president of the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. (some may have forgotten this was the original name of a company we recognize by the initials AT&T), said during that call: “Today is the result of many years of research and experimentation. We open a telephonic path of speech between New York and London… That the people of these great cities will be brought within speaking distance to exchange views and facts as if they were face to face…no one can foresee the ultimate significance of this latest achievement of science and organization.”

See also: Digital Innovation: Down to Business  

Fast-forward to 2019, and conversations bridging even greater distances occur many times a day in the global insurance industry, serving as a foundation for developing new coverages and accelerating business processes. As with that first telephone call, one day we’ll look back on low-code and no-code development as enabling an era of innovation in insurance.

Advantages of low-code/no-code

Insurance organizations embracing low-code and no-code development stand to gain several advantages, including:

  • Speed to market. The ability to introduce new products and services quickly has always been helpful in a competitive marketplace. For that reason, insurers have long relied on excess and surplus lines as a way to swiftly launch specialty products and grow market share. First movers have an advantage in insurance, and new products energize the distribution channel. Low-code and no-code offer ways to tailor and support new products, in admitted and non-admitted lines.
  • Brand differentiation. In the era of digital transformation, customers expect brands to offer memorable digital experiences. Who offers the best experience, from quoting to claims? Which insurance industry companies make it easy to do business? These are important considerations for customers who have become conditioned to using apps from top consumer brands. Low-code and no-code enhance insurance organizations’ ability to deliver digital experiences and set themselves apart from their competitors.
  • Operational efficiency. Insurers have already captured much of the low-hanging fruit in reducing expenses, which is why their expense ratios generally have not shrunk significantly in a long time. Low-code and no-code could change that by making internal software innovation faster and cheaper at every level of an organization. From a digital perspective, low-code and no-code development is like a force multiplier. It can accelerate the response to business opportunities, not just in the IT department but in every department.
  • Ease of implementation. Getting employees to do something new, in insurance or any other industry, can take a lot of time and training. The low-code/no-code movement simplifies standards and user interfaces, which makes it easy to learn, build, and implement. In a short time, insurance organizations can shift from thinking about apps to creating them.

Empowered businesspeople

The low-code/no-code movement offers an elegant solution to several operational problems that insurance organizations encounter regularly. For example, enhancing the digital experience is often an exercise in “Where do we even begin?” In addition, time for skilled IT staff to perform traditional coding for new products and digital apps, or to integrate changes and updates, is scarce. Limited development resources inevitably mean backlogs for the IT department, meaning that great ideas for new apps tend to remain just that, until programmers can turn them into usable tools.

See also: Digital Innovation in Life Insurance

Low-code/no-code empowers the people who are closest to the core business and its customers to design and create innovative apps, using cloud-based visual tools. A terrific idea to engage customers and make it easier to do business with the insurance organization no longer has to wait for traditional programming expertise. Instead, a “citizen developer” inside the business can make it a reality, and quickly. The low-code/no-code movement is a game changer in highly competitive and time-critical functions such as risk assessment, quoting and underwriting.

There is much more to low-code/no-code than just saving time and money, however. Most, if not all, productivity investments that insurance organizations make are intended to free staff to better serve the customer. Perhaps the most significant advantage of low-code/no-code is it lets all employees take a bigger role in that effort.