Technology Trends: Digital Readiness Rises To The Top
By Nimish Sankalia, Majesco

The customer has driven the need to “get digital.” Insurers are now faced with the mandate to become digitally transformed and to reset priorities, placing digital readiness at the top.

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Insurers aren’t just considering what digital readiness will do for them today, but what it will do for them and their customers tomorrow.

They realize that digital foundations will need to meet tomorrow’s customer needs while meeting operational needs for flexibility and simplification.

But how is it possible to prepare for tomorrow when no one really knows what digital opportunities are on the horizon? Is there a way carriers can prepare at a high level to become digitally grounded while they are pursuing today’s digital solutions? Here are some ideas to consider.

Listen for digital needs.
Insurers can learn about tomorrow from today’s customers. Product and service questions may be more telling than many insurers realize. For P&C business insurers especially, this is vital. Think of it this way. Most businesses are in the midst of technological change, which means they may also be in the midst of a shift in insurance needs. As logistical tracking improves and telematics sensors proliferate, the insurer’s ability to adapt products and processes to available data will differentiate them. That kind of readiness may start with a simple customer question like, “We’re thinking of doing this. Would you be able to insure that?” Listening organizations know how to move relevant front line inquiries to the top. An organization that wants to be digitally prepared will listen to customer cues and look closely at existing business.

Replace silo systems in preparation for digital responsiveness and data use.
Data is made better when it is available quickly. It becomes valuable when it is able to be cross-examined against other data for improved predictability. Tomorrow’s digital insurer will be capitalizing on a mix of personal, geospatial, local, global and trending data to create new services and make better decisions — none of which can happen while the data sits in disparate silos. Digital readiness starts with foundational system modernization that breaks down data walls.

Practice one brand, one-face connections.
Digital marketing is an initiative that will always be relevant to insurers. Many organizations are right now grappling with the challenges of adding new digital marketing and service channels to their customer-facing portfolio. The closest relationships will be built by the insurer that knows its customers and makes itself known by its consistency through any channel. Channels may come and go, but keeping the brand digitally uniform will allow customers to perceive stability in a changing world — and what insurer doesn’t want to be known as stable?

Look into the digital future.
We hear a lot about think tanks, innovation centers, centers of excellence and future labs. Every insurance organization needs a future-focused person or team assigned to extrapolate insurance possibilities from up-and-coming technologies and concepts. Digital readiness is a perpetual exercise, so it makes sense to place future surveyors out on the cutting edge.

Digital initiatives can be expensive, so most carriers don’t want to waste discretionary IT funding on just any digital project. They want to take on projects guaranteed to provide a long-term practical impact. To get started, insurers should:

Develop a digital strategy that accounts for now and the future. It may require reconsidering the organization's operating model.
Build a digital business case that accounts for all parts of the organization, but keeps practical ties to digital projects based on anticipated ROI.
Make a list of the places where digital initiatives can be used/reused throughout the value chain. (For example, who would you like to access to new data streams?)
Assess whether digital readiness may open the organization to new products or new markets. Don't count on these in the business case, but use them as secondary resources while building the digital strategy.

    These are just a few of the high level steps that insurers may take to make certain that they are ready for the digital world of insurance. What are your digital next steps? I would love to find out.

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