The insurance industry is in catch-up mode when it comes to digital transformation. New competition from insurtechs and the global lockdown were a wake-up call and accelerated the need to serve customers virtually.
Even if they haven’t implemented the technology, many leading carriers and brokers understand the benefits of autonomous finance, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to deliver optimized experiences.
- 91% say the first companies to deploy autonomous finance will gain a significant competitive advantage
- 88% say autonomous finance will soon be critical to being a top performer in the insurance industry
- 88% say autonomous finance is increasingly important for customer retention
The Salesforce Trends in Financial Services report revealed how the industry shifted its priorities in response to the pandemic. For the insurance industry, implementing new technology and automating processes increased in importance. There’s no longer a choice in implementing digital technologies if insurers want to stay in business. The following are three key areas to focus on in the digital transformation journey whether starting or are already implementing a plan.
1. Policyholders and producers are the heart of your business
The main guide for insurers’ digital transformation plans should be customer needs. What do customers want? They want what they’ve always wanted. Fast and easy ways to get the insurance coverage they need and to submit claims. Legacy technology and complex distribution systems make customer-centricity seem out of reach. In many cases, even simple changes like updating an address involves adding the new information to six or more screens. It doesn’t need to be this cumbersome. Moving systems to the cloud and expanding digital engagement can open up capabilities and flexibility.
Insurance companies need to be agile to keep up with shifts in expectations of how and where to access information. Implementing a digital customer-centric core platform is the fastest path to achieving that level of agility. It allows insurers to design new products, automate processes, and launch omnichannel experiences to better serve policyholder and producer needs. For example, allowing customers to request a new insurance card online rather than calling their agent. This leads to better customer satisfaction and retention in an environment that continues to grow in competitiveness.
2. Empower producers to build customer trust
Insurance is a people-driven industry. Relationships are important. Adding technology to the mix won’t replace those relationships. It’s meant to merge the human aspects with augmented digital capabilities for better outcomes. This augmentation can range from improved self-service opportunities to insights that recommend more relevant, personalized offers for individual clients. It helps producers expand on what they do best to do it better.
Many insurance companies start digital transformation journeys by consolidating data from their many systems into one single source of truth, usually a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. This provides all insurers a full view of customers so they can better understand who they are and their needs. They can also see what information customers viewed on their website to know what they’re interested in right now. This helps insurers anticipate questions and proactively reach out to them to address their concerns. Use these experiences to build trust and deepen relationships.
Using CRM data and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered insights can help identify ways to lower customers’ risk of loss. Having all their data at hand while discussing their needs helps insurers make better recommendations, as well as manage their expectations.
Insurers can use insights to better understand an agent’s book of business. By analyzing their information, insurers can identify which of the agent’s clients might be a good fit for a new product or who needs to know about product changes. And, by applying AI during the application process insurers can identify opportunities to suggest additional coverages or add a new product line.
3. What’s next? Automation
Many insurers may be in the midst of executing your digital transformation plans. Salesforce customers often ask about next steps. If they’ve already connected their systems, automation is key to advancing the digital journey. With new customer expectations and needs, there is more for insurers to do. Most are bogged down with administrative tasks that take a long time. Automation will free your underwriters and claims adjusters from the functions that don’t require decisions, opening them up for more complex work and deepening relationships. An example is allowing a broker to log into an insurance company’s portal, using an online calculator to create a quote, and then having the policy issued without having to talk to an individual.
Connecting and automating processes across channels benefits customers too. It makes their experiences faster and easier, such as lessening the amount of information needed and reducing waiting times when submitting accident claims. Amazon trained customers to expect fast, easy transactions from businesses in all industries, including insurance. Automation gets insurers closer to providing that anytime, anywhere fulfillment, and ultimately to autonomous finance.