Having a say in our future, digitisation in insurance

The present is the only space in time we can influence, said Professor of Futures Studies Andre Roux at the fourth iteration of the InsureTalk Webinar series. And influenced we have been.   “The pandemic has affected us all, forcing a new way of interaction,” said Craig Olivier, Chief Technology Officer at Genasys Technologies, speaking at InsureTalk about the role of technology in this uncertain future. It is now up to us as an industry to influence the outcome and adapt to what the future may ask of us.   Data has shown that customers are looking for new types of cover and reviewing their current policies in the wake of Covid-19, which is one the main drivers of the scramble for digitisation, Olivier explains. It is also driving the emergence of a new consumer, financially constrained and technologically literate.   “The Covid-19 pandemic is driving insurers and industries to rethink their value proposition,” notes Olivier. So, how do we service our clients in new ways supported by digitisation?   Change   The pandemic is changing the way we work, how we purchase, socialise, interact, and, ultimately, how we insure.   One of the most obvious initial impacts of the pandemic has been the move to remote working, but beyond this, it has impacted not only where we work but how we work. Individuals and companies are looking for 24/7 engagement points, due in part to these flexible arrangements.   “Direct-to-consumer engagement is soaring over face-to-face interactions,” says Olivier. Insurers must be able to offer full digital engagement where the client is able to self-serve from wherever they choose.   The 6 pillars   Integrity and empathy are the cornerstones of the six pillars of customer service. Others include providing resolutions and meeting expectations in a timeous and personalised manner. This is based on KPMG research, The Six Pillars of Customer Experience, which was conducted over 10 years and involving 3 000 brands in 26 countries.   Essentially, this translates to making your client’s life as easy as possible throughout the entire service chain, from sale to claim. But how do we do this, and how can technology help us achieve this stasis of ultimate client efficiency?   We can expect the “digital fields of action”, as Olivier says, to take place in customer interface and experience; business models and products; operational excellence; and the digital mindset and culture inside a company.   Omni-channel engagement and open insurance, enabled by APIs, will facilitate this change. Data will also continue to be revered as gold, especially the enrichment of data and thereby the simplification of customer journeys, he says.   The development of digital platforms, all operating as part of a digital ecosystem, will nurture partnerships and networking between insurers and insurance technology providers. New products, such as usage-based insurance, will also increasingly come to the fore in this New Normal, explains Olivier.   Furthermore, artificial intelligence (AI) will assist in process optimisation, thereby freeing up stressed employee resources to tend to processes that require human intervention.   “Covid-19 has forced a change of culture,” says Olivier. “We will see a transformation of companies towards agile practices and a systematic generation of innovations.”   In practice, this greater shift towards digitisation and innovation means that clients will be able to self-serve in the name of a simplified customer journey, and have access to products true to their current needs. “It will require systems that facilitate out-of-the-box thinking,” says Olivier. “Digital engagement, with the customer top of mind, is quickly going to become the New Normal.”
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