Low Code Platforms Provide Insurers a Clear Path to Modernization
By Kate Gingras, J.D.

Given repeated reports by analysts and media alike, the insurance industry’s reputation for lagging behind the norm in technology adoption and utilization is in little question. However, inundated of late with an infusion of technology advances driven by significant financial investment and customer preferences, the insurance industry is finally pushing digital modernization to the top of the budget priorities list. Today’s new breed of low-code platforms offer insurers an alternative to the rip-and-replace of core administration systems, empower business users to function more as citizen developers, and enable rapid application development for solving highly-specific insurance business problems. 

Avoid Unnecessary Rip-and-Replace

Insurers are no longer willing to be held back by legacy technology, but the large-scale, rip-and-replace of complex core administration systems is not a viable option. Instead, insurers are integrating existing core systems with low-code, cloud solutions which capably reach into downstream and customer-facing systems for important policyholder data. By acting as an innovation layer which bridges systems and siloes, low-code solutions provide a modern alternative to business as usual for insurers accustomed to systems which do not talk to one another and which inhibit a seamless customer experience.

Empower Business Users

As insurers move toward a digital future, empowering business users must be a strategic component of every modernization initiative. Such empowerment can not only take some of the burden of simple changes from the shoulders of in-demand IT department resources, but also alter an insurer’s internal power paradigm for a quicker, more cost effective result. Unfortunately, complicated architectures and unfriendly user interfaces have traditionally hindered progress and inclined insurers toward full-scale, core administration replacement projects as the best way to move toward a digital future state.  The push to cloud and increase in popularity of open APIs has made it possible for true low-code solutions to flourish, and today, business users are becoming true citizen developers with the ability to create apps which improve workflows and efficiency of specific processes on-demand.

Utilize Rapid Application Development

Utilizing a low-code, rapid application development platform as a means of solving specific insurance process problems can help insurers integrate disparate systems, improve existing investments, and get closer to the much sought after 360-degree customer view. The micro app approach means insurers used to the traditional world of system development and implementation can now build a web of interoperating applications in weeks instead of months. Low-code puts an insurer’s business users/citizen developers in the driver’s seat and helps derive value from investment in existing systems which become infinitely more connected when integrated with apps created using a low-code platform.

Define Initiatives that Deliver Business Value

Recognizing that modernization initiatives are often difficult, large-scale projects such as core administration replacements represent veritable comfort food when it comes to options. However, sticking with the devil you know can be dangerous without strategic purpose and a clear business case. In fact, in such a scenario, it would be easy for insurers to lose sight of what will deliver the most value. An innovative framework for digital transformation is only the beginning. Across lines of business, apps are needed to facilitate new business, streamline underwriting, speed first notice of loss (FNOL), and better handle claims, case management, commission payments and invoice processing, to name a few potential use cases.

Conclusion

To be clear, the more labor-intensive modernization initiatives do typically yield results, but the finish line is typically years down the road and fraught with budgetary, staffing, data conversion, integration and project management roadblocks. Today, insurers can invest in a flexible, low code platform to avoid a comprehensive rip-and-replace effort while empowering business users to play a more strategic role and promoting a micro app approach which can rapidly become the basis for cost-effective competitive differentiation.

Kate Gingras, J.D. is the global lead for Appian’s insurance practice. She can be reached for further comment or information via email at kate.gingras@appian.com