In a wide-ranging webinar discussion on insurance industry trends and technological responses to them, industry consultant Gavin Charlton commented, “If I had to put my last hundred dollars on a focus area, it would be on customer experience. It’s like the old inverted triangle: putting the customer right at the top will translate down to a better financial outcome at the bottom.”
A focus on customer experience permeated virtually the entire webinar, where Gavin was joined by Jake Sloan, Global Industry Leader of Insurance at Appian, and Procensol MD Dan Cooke. Every topic – from connectedness through personalisation to the need for speed – had the customer at its core.
The webinar discussed connected claims, connected stakeholders, and personal connection with customers. Connecting all parties is critical – to avoid leakage, speed up claims, and improve customer satisfaction. When the webinar audience was asked what the hurdles to achieving this connectedness are, a massive 67% of them voted for disjointed legacy systems.
When the conversation turned to personalisation, it encompassed more than the possibility of delivering a unique product to a ‘market of one’. The panel pointed out that while expectations of a personalised experience have been driven by industries other than insurance, it is arguably in personal injury insurance that it is most important. Not only is personal injury, well, personal, with associated mental and physical health issues, but the chance of litigation is high.
The Need for Speed
Reduced litigation was one of the examples our webinar contributors provided to emphasise the importance of online interactions, fast responses, and transparent processes. If a carrier responds quickly to an injured person for example, the customer is much less likely to turn to a lawyer. Since digital insurers can typically respond quickly and holistically, often resolving straightforward claims immediately, larger carriers need to be able to compete. As Jake Sloan put it, “Speed is very much a differentiator.”
How to Address the Hurdles
The panel agreed that speed is a critical factor in solutions to address these industry issues. Insurers need to innovate quickly, launching in weeks rather than months. Jake Sloan noted that Appian’s average time to bring a solution to market for their insurance clients was eight weeks. No coincidence perhaps that Appian clients Aviva and CNA have won the Celent Model Insurer Award for Legacy and Ecosystem Transformation for the last two years.
How are these transformations achieved so quickly? By wrapping core, siloed systems with applications built using low-code platforms such as Appian. This leaves the core systems doing what they do best (and maximises the investment already made in them) while adding flexibility, new leading-edge capabilities, and the ability to innovate. Applications can be added incrementally, starting with ‘low-hanging fruit’ in terms of processes that can be improved.
Many of the webinar audience’s questions revolved around building and proving the business case for these applications. Gavin Charlton’s approach at Truform Consulting is to guide insurers to look across the value chain, creating a heat map of issues. These are then broken into improvements that can deliver high, medium, and low returns. Because applications are fast to build and relatively inexpensive compared with, for example, enhancing or upgrading a core system, business cases should be equally fast. Charlton recommends picking a use case and knowing what the business wants to achieve – hard and soft goals that can be assessed at the end of the short project to determine success or failure. A business case should be short – “Not War and Peace” – and “within eight weeks you’ll know whether it’s going to work or not.”
Short projects have another advantage: funding. Budgets are typically easier to come by, from various sources within the organisation, and the risk profile is reduced on the business case because it will be proven quickly. In addition, pricing models cater to small investments with no lock-in contracts. All too often, a CFO will be cynical about the forecast outcomes of a project, but if you start small and deliver on a promised ROI, you will be much more likely to be believed with your next business case. Credibility is earned through practical delivery.
So what are you waiting for? Why not follow Jake Sloan’s advice: “Get started!”