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The Success of the Digital Revolution Depends on Optimization

It is no secret that the shift towards digitization will continue to accelerate through and beyond the waning days of COVID-19. And after a year where remote functionality turned from a convenience to a conditional necessity, customers have, more widely than ever before, come to expect better, personalized products, round-the-clock services, and frictionless online and offline experiences throughout.

Given the new landscape of mounting consumer expectations, how can enterprises attract and retain their customers?

The pursuit of solutions for tailored, seamless customer experiences can empower enterprises to bring in new customers and build loyalty, but this pursuit can be notably difficult for industries where legacy players have oft been laggards in adopting new technologies. As such, the ability to serve customers in a timely and efficient manner while still providing the best coverage and risk protection is a concern shared by insurance carriers of every size – from large legacy enterprises to small specialty providers.

Coronavirus spun a cautionary tale about the need to digitize, and insurers are no longer questioning the worth of adopting a digital mindset – KPMG’s COVID-19 Special Edition survey found that 64% of insurers are prioritizing investment in buying new technology and digitization. But markets are continually changing, and the challenge now at hand is for organizations to ask how they can accelerate optimization changes internally, decide what services they must adapt, and quickly address the changing concerns of their customer base.

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The Power of the Portal

In the current climate of customer expectations, the need for insurers to implement all-encompassing digital customer portals cannot be understated. At their best, these portals should serve as a place where policyholders can go to review existing policies, research new ones, submit claims, pay their bills, meet or converse with agents, and easily update coverage based on changing needs.

Unfortunately, most of the currently active portals don’t provide the modern, flexible user experience customers have come to expect. Since many of them utilize older technology, they are difficult to make any changes to, leaving insurers without the right tools to rapidly make the necessary changes to respond to their customers.  

A “component-based” approach offers a simple path to digital reinvigoration, by allowing insurers to overlay digital solutions on existing PAS infrastructures. Component-based digital solutions often meet insurers’ needs better than a complete overhaul of existing portals and allow IT departments to accelerate the digital journey of a pre-existing portal, without totally shutting it down or completely replacing it.  

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As an insurer, standalone or component-based platforms provide the freedom to buy specific solutions, such as low-code journey builder, or a digital layer with API manager, for solving specific problems that arise during transformation. By allowing seamless integration between existing portals and facilitating the ability to create, manage and simplify data management across a variety of complex systems, API tools stand to improve not only the services an insurer offers but the means of offering them as well. The ultimate result is the development of services that best reflect ever-changing consumer needs.

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Unlocking Customer Insights

The need for digitization does not just come about out of nowhere, nor should a digitization initiative be undertaken merely as a means to a trend. So, what drives this need to make changes? Customers of course.

The ability or inability to digitally shift based on customer needs can be the determining factor when it comes to standing out against the competition, and from a carrier perspective, integration of a new digital suite of solutions stands to improve customer relations. Carriers who take real steps towards becoming dynamic and proactive in the face of customer needs today will rise as the industry leaders of tomorrow.

A key to proactivity in meeting customer needs is savvy utilization of data-driven analytics – using existing, accumulated data to glean real-time information that influences how providers interact with their customers. Predictive analytics can help insurers outline potential outcomes and preemptively predict accommodations for future customer expectations, based on customer needs of the past.

One of the ways this proactivity most frequently manifests is through increased personalization in customer-facing processes. High-level personalization comes when a carrier is able to utilize individual user data to upsell each customer directly and provide information or solutions that target the need of a specific consumer. The insurers who will most successfully achieve highly personalized digitization are those that are able to shift their mindset from thinking about their customers as a conglomerate entity with across-the-board needs, to thinking about them as a collection of subgroups with varying degrees of need overlap.

In Conclusion

CEO, community organizer, and inspirational speaker, Naeem Callaway, once said, Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must but take a step.”

As in life, so too do these words of wisdom ring true for insurers with their sights set on digitization. When it comes to digitization, the options are limitless. But more is not always better, and it is always the smart but small choices that define successful digital optimization. Insurers that think about what you are trying to achieve in the long run, and address whatever problems block that path by way of taking stock of what is most important to them and to their customers, are the enterprises that will command the industry for years to come.

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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