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COVID-19: Pushing Insurance to Digital Transformation

DMS Covid

Last quarter Mark Breading of Strategy Meets Action wrote a couple of interesting pieces – COVID-19: A tipping point for insurance digital transformation? and Will COVID-19 Be The Tipping Point for Digital Transformation? I blogged about the general sense that digital transformation is being pushed by COVID-19 last week. But Mark makes a compelling case that this is particularly true in Insurance.

As Mark says

The work from home movement, voluntary or mandatory quarantining, retail store closures, and limits on public gatherings all serve to significantly increase our dependence on digital capabilities.

He goes on to talk specifically about insurance

Digital interaction capabilities: Self-service portals for agents and policyholders, websites that are easy to navigate and built using responsive design approaches, mobile apps for policy service and claims, and world-class call center technologies will become more critical than ever. Volumes are likely to increase as fewer face-to-face interactions occur by necessity.

We do a lot of work with insurers and they have historically been challenged when it comes to digitization:

  • Self-service portals only allow customers to do limited things – generally simple data updates or document review.
  • Agent portals are likewise often very passive, presenting data to agents but not really helping them manage their business.
  • Mobile apps focus on reporting the status of a policy service update or a claim when the customer just wants the update made or the claim paid.
  • Call centers increasingly have access to all your data but must constantly refer you to others for approvals.

The problem is that insurers have added digital channels, lightly digitized their data (scanned documents) and automated (digitized) processes without reviewing how they make decisions. They have paved the cowpath. And their use of Robotic Process Automation tools increases the odds that they will continue to do so. This is going to have to change. They are going to have to digitize decisions.

  • If policy update approvals are automated, customers can use the portal to do things not just request them.
  • If agency management decisions are automate, the agent portal can suggest how to grow the business and improve customer service not just passively support an agent who might not know what to do next.
  • If claims handling decisions are automated, mobile apps can support submission of claims and then respond immediately with “this claim is approved and will be paid in XX amount”.
  • If underwriting decisions are automated, websites and mobile apps can issue binding quotes and kick off the onboarding process 24×7.
  • If call approvals are thought of as the decisions they are not processes then call center reps can immediately assist customers, not just promise to talk to their supervisor.

COVID-19 is driving digital transformation. Insurance is a decision-centric industry and only if decisions are also automated can it be transformed.

Check out other posts on this blog on COVID-19 or on our company blog. To learn more about decision modeling and how it can help deliver agility and efficiency, download our white paper Agility and Efficiency with Decision Modeling.