What's Happening?

How to climb the tech mountain

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Craig Olivier, co-CEO of Genasys, shows you where to start implementing technology in your operation.

Here is an uncomfortable thought: technology is changing, virtually updating by the hour, and the insurance industry is struggling to keep up. But hang on, let us supplement this thought with some much-needed context and ask, do we really need to keep up with it all?

Striving to keep up with leapfrogging tech would be like trying to engage with every twitter post fluttering by in your feed or memorising the findings of multitudinous insurance reports floating around the web. It is just not possible.

So, what an insurer, or anyone wanting to bring their business into the digital age, really needs is a filter with clear definitions to identify which technologies apply to the future roadmap of the company. Start with this and ignore the rest, it is all noise.

Before getting caught up in the web of various products on the market, you first need to clearly understand the key business objectives, what it is you are trying to solve with technology and have a system to measure whether the tech is doing its job. The technology industry is abuzz with promises of overnight change but, please, do not adopt technology for the sake of it. If it is not solving anything and it cannot be measured, it is probably not worth the money.

Tis The Season For Disruption

Products, automation, risk mitigation and distribution are the areas in insurance that are ripe for disruption. Let us break these down.

• Product – A lot of the disruption, currently taking place, is around creating personalised insurance that is offered to a client at the right time and the most convenient place. It is around efficiencies and automation, which, in return, drives trust from a brand perspective. This is vitally important in turning the sentiment of insurance as a grudge purchase.

• Automation – People buy insurance for one reason only: to be reimbursed in the event of loss, and they want this to happen as quickly as possible. Today’s tech enables insurers to automate many of these functions, also accounting for fraud and other data-enrichment capabilities.

• Risk mitigation – Actively preventing events that lead to claims is a big deal for carriers and clients. If we can use data and technology to mitigate risk, crime being the obvious one, everybody wins.

• Distribution – It is about creating digital distribution capabilities to end-consumers, but also to intermediaries who can engage with their clients digitally. Insurers, today, are selling to an entirely different customer who wants to be able to quickly log into their insurance policy, even at night, to get a quote or update their insurance, and it is all about creating the digital environment that allows this interaction. But do not forget the clients that need a human being on the other end, and, in this sense, having an omnichannel is key for clients who want to drop off digitally and jump onto a call with a broker. Yes, intermediaries continue to provide huge value to the industry.

Where To Begin

Innovation must be embedded in the company culture and driven from the top by executives, so it trickles down to all levels. This can be achieved through hackathons in your engineering team or reward incentives for the most innovative ideas. It is about getting inputs from all levels of the business. Employees must know that it is okay to challenge the status quo. And this comes back to understanding the issues inside a business and channelling this innovation to tackle these issues.

Most adoption hurdles are related to company culture. How do you as a company prioritise this evolution and put enough financial resources behind it? Or phrased differently, how do you embed this way of thinking throughout the entire company? It can be extremely difficult to overturn systems and platforms that have been in place for decades.

A Soft Landing

There are technologies available that allow a soft transition into this new unknown. It is up to insurers to explore these new technologies available throughout the insurance value chain, which can be integrated using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that plug into your systems.

In doing so, an insurer can plug in functions such as fraud detection capabilities, data enrichment capabilities, vehicle telematics, visualisations and integrations, payment gateway integrations, portals and conversational user interfaces and author time payments, among many others.

Take The First Step

So, how or where do you get started with integrating technology? It is easy, right at the beginning. Identify clearly which issues you are trying to solve? Then look at product capabilities and how you can sell these products and services at the right time and through the right channels.

Technology is evolutionary not revolutionary. In other words, it is a system of continuous pivotal changes that will eventually deliver the best results. It is only when your back is turned for too long and you have not kept up with these changes that it may seem like a revolution, threatening to kick down the door.

So, remember, before getting caught up in the web of various products on the market, you first need to clearly understand the key business objectives, what it is you are trying to solve

with technology and have a system to measure whether the tech is doing its job. Do not adopt technology for the sake of it. If it is not solving anything and it cannot be measured, it is probably not worth the money.