Article | March 18, 2020
The insurance industry continues to be an enabler of innovation. Since its creation three centuries ago, it has become an essential part of the global economy — providing security and resilience to businesses and individuals alike. But the fundamentals of how it operates have barely changed. As we enter a new decade, the industry must reflect the reality of the needs of today’s businesses and society. Large commercial insurers and reinsurers, in particular, have an increasingly urgent imperative to realign their organizations and modify their offerings to include stronger preventive services against new and evolving threats, including climate change and cyber risk. There is a huge opportunity. Our latest NextWave Insurance report reveals that, should the industry act now, an unprecedented growth and profitability spike is within reach. By 2030, we project that large commercial insurers and reinsurers could experience:
Article | March 3, 2020
Job automation has shaped cultures and economies since before the agricultural revolution, throughout industrial revolutions and into the current digital age. The insurance industry is not immune, with automation and innovation continuing to drive the scope for significant change. Traditional automation has been transformative in automating simple, repeatable tasks in back-end processes. Robotic process automation (RPA) combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities can be, and are being, used to automate high volume and high frequency tasks that have traditionally required human intervention.
Article | March 20, 2020
Unsurprisingly, that has had a knock on effect on financial service providers across the board and those in the insurance industry are no exception. In some cases insurers have started taking action to protect their businesses which, while sensible, left many consumers in the lurch as airlines failed to cancel flights and governments issued conflicting advice as to whether people should travel or not. Others in the insurance industry meanwhile are being forced into action to customers’ benefit by governments’ emergency responses to the virus.
Article | April 12, 2021
Automated claims processing, price comparison platforms, mobile bill paying—these are just some of the digital services that insurance customers expect and insurers want to provide. As the demand for digital skyrockets, so does the need for insurers to invest in IT. In the past seven years, the share of IT in total operating costs of property-and-casualty (P&C) insurers increased 22 percent. The rise of digital means technology is no longer a cost center. Rather, it is an asset that, if managed well, can increase growth and profitability.
But do these IT investments pay off? As the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates already increasing cost pressures, insurers’ IT budgets are under scrutiny; they want to see the business impact of their IT investments.
Insurers with targeted IT investments achieve better growth and performance
Data from McKinsey’s Insurance 360° benchmarking survey provide strong evidence of the positive business impact of targeted IT investments. In fact, insurers that invest more in technology outpace competitors that don’t pursue targeted investments in business measures such as gross written premium (GWP) growth, return to shareholders, and expense and loss ratio (exhibit).
As an example, in life insurance, companies that invested more in IT saw a greater reduction in expense ratios (by 2.0 percentage points) and higher returns on technical reserves2 (1.7 percentage points) when compared with insurers with lower IT investments. Insurers achieved these outcomes within three to five years of making their investments.
For P&C insurers, those with high IT investments achieved approximately twice the top-line GWP growth of low IT investors. High IT investments also produced a greater reduction in combined ratios when compared with those with low IT investment.
Four areas for targeted IT investment
So what kinds of technology investments can help insurers achieve growth and improve productivity and performance? Investments in four areas are critical:
Marketing and sales: Marketing technology solutions can increase sales and processing efficiency, improve the quality of core customer-facing processes such as policy inquiries and policy applications, and improve customers’ overall experiences. McKinsey’s Insurance 360° benchmarking data show that tech investments in this category can facilitate top-line growth for P&C insurers by up to 20–40 percent; for life insurers, that growth could be 10–25 percent over a three- to five-year period.
Underwriting and pricing: Automated underwriting fraud detection can improve the likelihood that insurers correctly identify fraud and set accurate prices. A pricing tool kit that analyzes pricing across competitors and enables a flexible, more segmented market versus technical pricing further improves profit margins. Insurers that deploy these and other product, pricing, and underwriting technologies have seen improvements in their profit margins by 10–15 percent in P&C insurance and 3–5 percent in life insurance.
Policy servicing: Workflow automation, artificial intelligence–based decision support, and user experience technologies in policy servicing and within IT can improve the customer self-service experience and automate back-office processes, thus reducing IT and operations expenses. And state-of-the-art self-servicing options will reduce processing times and even improve customer experience. An analysis of programs for large-scale insurance IT modernization finds that insurers that deploy these and other product, pricing, and underwriting technologies have seen improvements in their profit margins by 5–10 percent in P&C insurance and 10–15 percent in life insurance.
Claims: P&C insurers can use automated case processing—machine-learning technology trained to process basic claims cases—to segment more complex cases and significantly improve claims accuracy. Combined with better partner integration and steering technologies embedded in a transformation of the claims operating model, such technologies can help P&C insurers improve profit margins by 25–40 percent, according to McKinsey analysis of large-scale IT modernization programs.
To realize the full value of IT investments, insurers must strategically allocate their resources and view tech as an asset, not a tool.