Trending Technologies and Their Impact on Making Insurance Customer-centric

By : |September 16, 2019 0

The insurance industry has been criticized in the past for being averse to change and refraining from embracing technology. However, in today’s digital world, traditional as well as modern insurance companies are using technology as fuel to not only drive their efforts but also to take substantial leaps towards making insurance customer-friendly.

The insurance industry isn’t functioning in silos anymore. It is a part of a gigantic ecosystem comprising of several industries and is responsible for local and global economic growth. This ever-growing ecosystem is now powered by technology because it fosters productivity.

While insurers took time to befriend technology, customers, in general, were accustomed to tech-driven products and services due to easy access to affordable smartphones and internet. Now, with the advent of InsurTech (technology-backed insurance), insurers not only want to catch-up but race ahead. Staying relevant is necessary. So is anticipating and delivering what today’s digital-savvy customer might need in the future.

There is no one, all-encompassing technology; it’s not a magic wand. In top-performing tech organizations, there is an amalgamation of technologies and this synergy is magical. At the core of it, technology makes things easy, quick, and convenient. And this is the essence of making insurance customer-centric.

Trending Technologies

Technology is never static. It is like an unstable energy source; constantly active, continuously mounting. Therefore, there will be times when a bunch of technologies might trend but, with time, they will often be accompanied by a better set that will also assume a different, more result-oriented form.

Here’s a table that distinguishes between basic and advanced technologies utilized by the insurance industry to achieve customer-focused goals. Sometimes they function individually but mostly it is a hybrid approach that yields positive results.

Basic TechnologiesWeb & Mobile Insurance, Internet of Things (IoT), Comparison Tools, Chatbots, Cloud Computing.
Advanced TechnologiesArtificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Big Data and Predictive Analysis, Virtual Reality (VR), Blockchain.

Resolving Pain Points

Over the years, technology has been viewed as a healer that resolves customer’s pain points. Technology solves front-end as well as back-end problems. Thus, it resolves the insurer’s pain points as well, which eventually benefits the customer. The following sections highlight how and when technologies from the above-mentioned table play a crucial role during a customer’s purchase journey comprising of – Research, Purchase, and Claims.

       ● Research

What was once perceived to be advanced, is now basic. Today, customers research about insurance products online. They use their mobile/laptop/desktop to access the internet and find and compare insurance plans to search for the most suitable option. Chatbots are used to seek answers to queries that were previously resolved by customer care executives.

If typing is too much of an effort, voice search does the job. The current research process can become extremely dynamic if Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality come into the picture. Imagine using a VR device that gives you a walkthrough of different ways in which a car insurance policy can come to your rescue.

       ● Purchase

Cloud computing and smooth API integration support online research and purchase. Paperless insurance transactions are now becoming the norm. Vehicle and Travel insurance policies can be purchased online within minutes. Comparatively, buying online health insurance might take some time due to its complex nature, but simple yet engaging User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) facilitate guided purchase journeys, which keep the purchase duration to a minimal.

Nowadays, customers need not make the first move, insurers are reaching out to the targeted audience by utilizing Big Data & Analysis. Generic pricing is gradually becoming extinct. Personalized pricing is now possible with smart underwriting of policies, which is the outcome of multiple technologies such as Predictive Analysis, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, and IoT. For example, Facial Recognition and Predictive Analysis can be used to understand the health insurance risk profile of a policyholder during policy purchase or renewal.

       ● Claims

Policyholders want a quick turnaround time when it comes to claiming settlement. What better than Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Machine Learning to reduce the time taken to process claim requests and ensure efficient data management. Blockchain Technology enables data verification, security, and transparency.

Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality prove useful during claims; to apply for a claim request, analyze the extent of damage, and speed-up the process by negating manual intervention. Together these technologies can weed out fraudulent claims and help insurance companies to focus on servicing genuine policyholders.

Learning Curve

Indian insurers have just touched the tip of the iceberg as far as technology is concerned. There’s a lot to be discovered. Technology has a learning curve, both for the customer and the insurer. Staying up-to-date with current trends is key.

Developing modular and scalable technological solutions will help insurers to be in sync with the latest developments, and adapt to challenges and opportunities presented by the market forces. Partnerships with businesses that communicate in the tech-language is a natural progression. This will pave the way for customer-first innovation in InsurTech and benefit the entire industry.

Animesh Das, Head of Product Strategy, ACKO General Insurance

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