Core Insurance, Risk Management
Article | September 22, 2022
There is no doubt that we are living in an era in which insurers have been called to transform their business offerings, infrastructure and operations. Successful transformation translates into new revenue opportunities, stronger customer relationships and sustained brand relevance. However, this need to evolve cannot be addressed through superficial changes. Leading insurers are transforming their core offerings to completely reimagine their role in the insurance landscape. As the nominations and winners for the Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Core Insurance Transformation award show, leading insurers are starting their core transformation at the top, and applying it to every touchpoint of the business.
Nine pioneering nominees
The nine nominees in the core insurance transformation category lead core insurance transformation in various innovations across their value chain. The nominations were:
AXA for A.Iconic Claims
Discovery for AI Quote
RBC for their conversational AI Platform, driven by Personal Insights for Life Insurance Application
Generali for their fund transaction through blockchain innovation
FWD for the AI-Everywhere Smart Insurance Framework
China Life Insurance for an intelligent value evaluation system for salesforce
Multiasistencia for MACARENA, an innovative AI voicebot that provides100% automated First Notice of Loss in home insurance claims
Humania for their ground-breaking income insurance for accident and disability claims
Mapfre for Verbatims, a cognitive behavioural model that integrates live customer feedback
As can be seen, by the nominees above, AI is a leading technology in core insurance transformation. In fact, every innovation used technology in fresh, structured ways to create a lasting impact on their business. Let’s look closer at the winners, and what their innovations say about how to lead core insurance transformation in 2021.
Discovery are transforming the way brokers and clients engage with them through the introduction of their AI Quote service. Users are able to upload a PDF or pictures of competitor insurance and investment documents via phone or computer, and receive an equivalent Discovery quote in seconds. The entire journey can be completed in under a minute. Brokers can take the quotes to their clients and where a client has completed the direct journey, they will be called by a sales agent to discuss the specifics of the quote and close the sale.
Romek Sadowski, Discovery Life’s Head of Technical Marketing says, “Ultimately, AI-powered optical character recognition (OCR) technology has been able to equip us with a seamless journey for clients, advisers and employees of the business as a whole. For clients, benefits include receiving a comparable quote in less than a minute and an improved understanding of Discovery’s products relative to the market. For advisers, key benefits include more accurate and consistent competitor comparisons, as well as a reduction in sales and quoting frictions. By automating the process of extracting data from policy documents and then converting it into comparable Discovery Life benefits, our advisers are able to spend less time on manual work and more time assisting our clients.
AI Quote has also created opportunities for Discovery Life to incorporate digital tools into many of our existing processes and create a single, seamless, digital journey for advisers and clients alike. Additional innovations, such as Virtual Underwriting which allows clients to undergo underwriting from anywhere they choose, have been developed and are being refined in order to make this goal for a seamless digital journey a reality.”
This is an important innovation in the South African insurance and investment landscape, which is highly developed and innovative, and characterised by frequent product updates and enhancements. While products are fine-tuned to meet customer needs, it’s difficult for brokers to keep track of various products in the market and how they compare from one competitor to another. Clients are also not in the position to understand how exactly their financial products compare against competitors.
“The South African insurance industry is a complex environment with a vast array of sophisticated products. Financial advisers are faced with numerous competitors each with multiple products and options, resulting in countless different quoting combinations. By automating the comparison process, AI Quote simplifies the new business experience for both advisers and clients, increasing conversion rates and improving stakeholder satisfaction. AI Quote ensures that clients who have existing policies with our competitors are quoted comparable Discovery benefits and gives advisers confidence that they are providing clients with the best possible advice when comparing policies.”
By removing sales frictions and automatically carrying out comparisons, Discovery’s AI Quote aims to enhance the company’s exposure to potential clients, attract brokers to sell Discovery products, improve the accuracy of replacements and promote Discovery’s brand as a market-leading innovator. With an efficient client- and broker-centric platform, Discovery has taken quoting to the next level.
The potential for AI, however, is just beginning to be untapped. Romek concludes, “The insurance landscape is evolving, and we have seen an influx in microinsurance providers, direct-to-customer insurers and niche players in the market. When it comes to life insurance, clients are faced with a dauntingly large number of options – and that number is increasing. Within such complexity, manual processing of data in order to generate benefit comparisons is simply inefficient. A key benefit of AI is that it can complement or replace manual processes and allows for a far more streamlined user experience.
Outside of the new business process, AI has displayed immense success in other areas such as customer service, underwriting and claims. Chatbots are now commonly used by insurers around the world to assist clients and answer their questions. Car insurance has been fundamentally changed through advancements in telematics. Big data is more readily available and, with the help of AI, can be utilised to make faster and more accurate pricing and underwriting decisions.”
Generali conducted a deep transformation in the way they transact with their counterparts and custodians through the use of blockchain technology.
Generali France currently processes 250 thousand orders on funds (to cover unit-linked policies) per year through classical schemes via custodians. The aim is to generate a direct link with asset managers for trading shares of funds without using the costly transfer agent of custodians.
With this transformation in mind, Generali France invested in a startup called Iznes, developing a trading platform on funds based on blockchain technology. With this as a foundation, Generali has begun to connect its IT and operations to the innovative platform.
The innovation can serve all middle and back offices of investment departments and asset management companies. It crunches transaction costs and creates a direct link between the buy-side and the sell-side. The total cost of Generali Unit-linked orders is expected to drop by half, supposing that 50% of counterparts join the platform.
Led by their customers’ needs and vision to change the way people feel about insurance, FWD Group Data developed a ‘Smart Insurance Framework’ which sees the business embarking on a ‘AI-everywhere’ approach. The platform has transformed the entire insurance journey for both their customers and employees with the use of advanced technologies and AI power.
To create a simpler and smoother insurance experience for customers, FWD created a modern data architecture framework that improves operation efficiency internally and convenience externally. The Group Office Data Platform (GODP) streamlines and integrates all data into a single platform that is smart, secured and scalable. This platform allows business users to harness data, insights and run analytics across all our markets, to help support a spectrum of initiatives in FWD with data. The clever use of data allows FWD to evolve and predict customer responses more accurately, develop a better understanding of customer needs and behaviour, and in turn serve them better.
As the nominees and winners show, the insurance industry is embracing technology to pre-empt, analyze and streamline customer, broker and employee experiences. We would love to hear how you are transforming your core insurance operations. Submit your core insurance innovation to the Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards for 2022.
Article | July 20, 2022
Amid COVID-19, banks began offering mortgage deferrals and slashing credit card interest rates in half for cardholders who need relief. Home and auto insurance companies COVID-19 plans are now being released. How will this impact your insurance right now? How can you save on insurance during COVID-19, while making sure to stay protected?
Core Insurance, Risk Management
Article | August 4, 2022
Policy management assists insurance companies in staying on track to meet their client objectives by selling more policies and collecting more premiums. However, organizations using inadequate or fractured policy management software may be leaving a lot on the table. According to a study by Accenture, automation could save the insurance industry a cumulative $5-7 billion.
Are you facing hurdles in processing policies? Are some of the tasks like policy renewal, policy issuance, policy binding etc., that are supposedly automated still taking up time and resources away from the company? If so, it might be time to rethink your policy management. Here are three signs to look out for when this happens.
There are Hiccups in Your Policy Processing Processes
Being able to make universal changes and synergize different processes is a crucial aspect of policy management. If your insurance policy management tool isn’t able to keep up with the information or automate tasks like making updates and syncing information in real-time, it may be time to reconsider it and seek a solution that integrates Robotic Process Automation, or RPA. RPA tools enable organizations to reduce processing time for issuing, updating and cancelling a policy.
The Underwriting Stage Takes Up a Lot of Time
Underwriting can be a tedious, time-consuming process. With modern policy management solutions, it is possible to automate a number of tasks within underwriting. If your application is contributing to negligible or no reduction in the time it takes for underwriters to process everything. From the applicant’s credit history and scores to savings and loos-run reports, the underwriter needs to manually process this data. However, before that, the data needs to be reached in a streamlined manner. If your platform doesn’t support intelligent automation, digitalizing the underwriting process isn’t possible, in turn hampering the ability to access information when needed.
It is Difficult to Keep Up with Claims Processing
Claims management is an integral part of any insurance workflow, and its automation adds immense business value. If your claim settlement process is slow, filled with bottlenecks, and is impacting consumer experience, your existing platform isn’t doing any favours. Advanced claims processing solutions let you integrate features that align with the workflows of the insurer.
Customer Experience Isn’t Up to the Mark
Poor policy management processes are always reflected in the overall customer experience. Are you inundated with customer complaints, feedback about slow processing, and injured employee morale from poor performance and higher work load? The key is to take a good look at your current workflow and how it is affecting the end consumer. In a high-stress service like insurance, nothing less than an impeccable customer experience is a base expectation. The lack of responsiveness in your communication can result in a high customer churn rate. With a good policy management solution, your teams are able to stay on track and automate tasks when needed in order to keep customers updated.
The insurance sector is a fast-paced business world and requires insurtech solutions that can handle the tremendous pressures and demands of customers. The four signs indicate that it might be time to introspect and, if needed, jumpstart your digital transformation journey.
Article | July 15, 2022
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations have increasingly entered the mainstream of investment discussions, both through routine incorporation into traditional investment processes and through distinct sustainable or impact investing styles. Recent and current global conditions, such as extreme weather events, the inequitable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising distrust of government institutions, and geopolitical challenges to a rules-based world order, have accelerated this trend, emphasizing the direct relevance of ESG and sustainability to understanding long-term market risks and opportunities.
Until recently, equity investors were more concerned with ESG and sustainability than their fixed-income counterparts. That is, however, beginning to change, and at a rapid pace. ESG and sustainability have gained significant traction among bond investors, particularly since the implementation of COVID-19, and are now widely regarded as essential components of fixed income investing. For example, global sustainable debt issuance reached a new high of over US$1.6 trillion in 2021 and is expected to rise further in the coming years. Notably, we believe that ESG integration and sustainable fixed-income investing require a very deliberate, thoughtful approach — one that varies significantly from one fixed-income sector to the next.
ESG and sustainability:
At a high level, researchers believe that increased awareness of ESG and sustainability benefits global markets in two ways:
1. ESG integration allows market participants to think more holistically about the types of financially material risks and opportunities — such as physical, reputational, and (geo)political — that should ideally be reflected in asset valuations and taken into account during the routine portfolio construction and management process.
2. Furthermore, the conversation about sustainable investing is encouraging more market participants to look beyond narrow, issuer-specific investment thesis to consider how market participants' behaviors affect the broader systems and structures (e.g., climate stability, institutional strength) whose long-term viability is critical for the long-term health of economies and markets.
We, like many others, believe that a stable global climate, clean air and water for all, adherence to the rule of law, strong institutions with broad public legitimacy, and broad-based access to economic opportunity are valuable public goods from which market participants would benefit collectively over time. As a result, a central goal of sustainable investing is to assist markets in evolving toward rewarding participants for exercising responsible stewardship of these public goods, which are critical to pursuing favorable long-term outcomes for the real people who are the ultimate beneficiaries of markets. This framing of sustainability highlights why fixed income is so important in moving global markets and economies in a more sustainable direction.