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Insurance is a highly complex business involving multiple processes to administer existing policies, price and sell new business, renew policies and process claims. 

The impact from the Covid-19 situation undoubtedly poses new challenges for insurers to maintain their operations in what will emerge as the ‘new normal’, where current ways of working will be disrupted.

A Different Roadmap for Growth

In an article by Deloitte on the potential implications of the pandemic for the insurance industry, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is quoted as saying that a longer-lasting and more intensive outbreak could reduce global growth to just 1.5 percent in 2020. 

Insurers across the board are likely be impacted by this sharp slowdown in economic activity, which looks to seriously undermine their future growth.

The question is, as the insurance industry stands on the precipice of this profound change: how can these new challenges be addressed to ensure ongoing growth, cost-efficiency and great customer experience?

Drive to Digital

Certainly, insurers who have embraced digital transformation – and specifically process automation - in their underwriting, claims, and administrative processes are in a much stronger position than others. Indeed, they stand a better chance of not losing customers to less digitally-minded competitors.

While survival rather than growth may be uppermost in insurers’ minds right now, they need to stay focussed on driving growth. This will come from preventative, as well as protective approaches, with a range of new services and products.

The traditional approach of selling protective products is nowhere near enough for the insurers of the future. Growth will come from new service-based models, innovative products and a greater focus on prevention.

Maximising Customer Experience

Global research across the insurance industry consistently shows that improving the customer experience can do far more to drive profitable growth than raising advertising spending or lowering prices.

The problem is, insurance companies often burden their workforce with repetitive and operational tasks, rather than channelling them towards more value-added, customer-focussed tasks. With reduced workforces and remote working, automating these processes becomes more essential to maintain and enhance customer service and experience.

Customers’ needs, knowledge and expectations have expanded exponentially in the past decade. In an age of immediacy, constant change and overwhelming choice where loyalty is no longer a given, the insurance industry has to extend beyond its core products and services to retain its customer base – especially in these challenging times.

Insurance companies will need to continue offering best-in-class customer experience (CX) to continue to survive and grow -  and do so more profitably. Indeed, CX is becoming an ever-increasing competitive differentiator in the insurance industry.

Even though it is traditionally cautious, the insurance industry is heavily regulated and accustomed to incremental change. So the move towards more automated processes has never been more urgent than it is now.

Ensuring Cost Efficiency

Even before the recent situation, the technological revolution and growing popularity of InsurTechs, combined with customer demand for a more personalised experience, were pushing insurers to add more product and service value. Today, the pressure in a highly competitive market for cost efficiency is even more pressing. 

The insurance industry is, of course, replete with back-office processes, which are operational, high-volume, repetitive and often costly. But with an increased focus on driving growth and enhancing customer experience, insurance companies are looking to process automation to free up their workforce to focus on customer service, thereby ensuring greater cost efficiency.

Taking a Cognitive Approach

Bearing all these factors in mind, there’s an increasing realisation that, if you’re an insurance company trying to automate your business processes to drive growth, ensure cost efficiency and maximise customer experience, your success will depend on your ability to capture and digitise data -  and specifically, unstructured data.

Indeed, according to projections from analysts IDC, 80 percent of worldwide data will be unstructured by 2025. For many large companies, it has reached that critical mass already. 

Traditionally, being able to capture and digitise data to underpin and drive process automation initiatives has largely been down to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) 

Traditionally, being able to capture and digitise data to underpin and drive process automation initiatives has largely been down to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology. The problem is, OCR falls down when you present it with anything other than neat, nicely structured data.

The ‘data chasm’ caused by unstructured data can include images, web pages, handwritten documents, signatures, and even mobile content. Right now, as an insurer you may or may not be particularly worried about this chasm –  the problem comes when you realise you need to leverage unstructured data to underpin and drive forward your business process automation initiatives in the current climate and beyond. 

Taking a cognitive machine reading (CMR) approach to automation gives you a competitive edge because it can capture and curate all data, and help ensure the success of your business process automation initiatives – essential in today’s challenging environment.

Learn how CMR transforms your data, download your copy of Disrupt OCR Ebook.
 

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