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Decision Management and Insurance – multi-channel distribution and customer communication


Insurers face an explosion of direct sales channels: websites, mobile and call centers, with the rapidly evolving world of social media opening up even more opportunities. Driving consistent customer treatments and profitable direct sales across dynamic distribution channels, while effectively managing risk, is a huge challenge. As Deb pointed out, linking all customer communication together holistically while driving products through changing and dynamic distribution channels, is a key imperative for insurers.

Decision Management manages operational decisions, like customer treatment decisions, policy decisions and risk decisions, as corporate assets. These decision assets are identified, enhanced by analytical insight and business know-how, checked for compliance, evaluated for risk, and delivered to the channel, system, agent or app when needed at the speed of your business. The decisions and results are measured and those results incorporated in the next decision, so results improve over time.

Each customer is considered individually. Yet this focus is delivered economically and at scale – you cannot have a custom process for each customer. Decision Management replaces generic or one-size-fits-all decision making with decisions focused on a specific customer, and applies business rules and analytic insight to those decisions, to create a dynamic and personalized experience for the customer.

For this to work, customer-centric decisions need to be delivered across all channels. Different channels have different systems – some are automated, some manual and some a blend of both. Existing systems and processes don’t allow this focus on individual customer decisions, but can’t be ripped out and replaced without significant cost and effort. Decision Management builds on SOA to ensure customer decisions are delivered effectively across channels, systems and processes with Decision Services – self-contained services that deliver the right customer decision to any process or system that needs it.

Insurers adopting Decision Management build on their existing IT systems to deploy multi-channel decision making that drives their dynamic distribution channels. Decision Management is deployed in three steps:

  • Decision Discovery identifies which decisions are important for your business and where your organization will get the most value from business rules and analytics.
  • Decision Construction enhances these decisions using business rules to apply policy, regulation, best practices and know-how and adding  analytic insight to improve these decisions. The decision  are made available to business processes, legacy systems, websites/portals, corporate systems, enterprise applications, social or mobile apps via Decision Services build on SOA.
  • Decision Analysis creates a continuous improvement loop for these decisions so the decisions and their value to the business improve over time.

Because these decision services can deliver automated decisions directly to customers or to customer service staff working with customers, every part of the customer communications is improved.

All these pieces contribute to ever-more sophisticated decision services that support dynamic distribution channels and holistic customer communication.

Next up, the role of Decision Management in claims.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dana Shields April 2, 2011, 6:40 am

    I think this article would’ve been more helpful if it had taken a single, tangible example of, say, an underwriting decision, discovered, constructed, and then later analyzed for results.

    I’m having difficulty reconciling the diagram above with a specific Yes/No decision.

    • James Taylor April 3, 2011, 9:52 pm

      I will write an additional post with a little more detail