HOW SUSCEPTIBLE ARE INSURERS TO DISRUPTION, REALLY?

ERIK SANDQUIST | June 6, 2018

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Why aren’t insurers more prepared? The reasons vary, from unwarranted optimism about their current business models to pressures on performance in the near-term to a lack of tools to support strategic decision-making. But what I think it mostly comes down to is fear that disruption cannot be predicted and that the challenges it brings will be insurmountable.

Spotlight

Cross Insurance

Cross Insurance is a family owned insurance agency made up of a network of wholly-owned subsidiary insurance agencies throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island. Getting its humble beginnings in the home of Woodrow Cross in 1954, the company has since grown to become New England’s largest and the nation’s 37th largest independent insurance provider with more than 30 branches and more than 700 employees.

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How chatbots are driving insurtech

Article | March 10, 2020

The first chatbot, called ELIZA, was built in 1966 by MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum. It used a pattern matching system to simulate a human conversation and gave a series of scripted responses designed to have it play the role of a therapist. Today, chatbot technology is a vital part of the way that companies across a myriad of sectors interact with their customers, with applications covering everything from content delivery to conversational ecommerce. By 2025, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.25bn.

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What’s Driving Innovation and Transformation in Insurance?

Article | March 5, 2020

According to Gartner analyst Kimberly Harris-Ferrante, in the report Innovation Insight for Artificial Intelligence in Life and P&C Insurance*, “Adoption and maturity of AI are increasing among insurance early adopters as they test new use cases and technologies. Insurance CIOs can benefit from greater awareness of AI fundamental use cases and the impact of AI to help guide innovation.” At Shift, we couldn’t agree more.

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How Prepared are Insurtechs Against the Threat of Coronavirus?

Article | March 13, 2020

The losses and costs resulting from the outbreak of coronavirus are estimated to be in the enormous sum of four trillion US dollars – but we don’t see this as reason to panic. Thanks to a mobile-first approach, technical infrastructure and direct sales, insurtechs are protected against the crisis and, right now, they are one of the most promising business models, in one of the largest markets in the world. The developments surrounding coronavirus could therefore even be described as a catalyst for insurtechs. Crises reveal how strong a digital business model is. And coronavirus in particular demonstrates the extent of the technological lead over traditional insurers.

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Will your insurance IT investments pay off?

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.

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Spotlight

Cross Insurance

Cross Insurance is a family owned insurance agency made up of a network of wholly-owned subsidiary insurance agencies throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island. Getting its humble beginnings in the home of Woodrow Cross in 1954, the company has since grown to become New England’s largest and the nation’s 37th largest independent insurance provider with more than 30 branches and more than 700 employees.

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