Top 10 Imperatives for Insurers in 2012

Unleash Analytics on Data

Unleash Analytics on Data: The ability to tap into vast stores of internal and external data and reshape the information into data that be leveraged for developing new products is essential. This will help insurers meet evolving customer needs, improve underwriting and pricing decisions, more effectively manage claims and enhance the customer experience. The data must be clean, complete, accessible and accurate, but from there, intelligence tools and analytics'—specifically predictive analytics—scenarios can be assessed more accurately than before across the business value chain.

Maximize Customer Experience for Growth

Maximize Customer Experience for Growth: 2012 finds customer service being regarded as one of the top five drivers of growth for insurance companies, a drastic jump from past years. Thus, insurers are becoming more focused on providing a holistic experience in the way they interact with policyholders. Innovative insurers are conjoining several business applications and technologies and planning IT projects in an integrated fashion. While this bolsters back-end processes, new distribution channels are transforming the front-end of customer interaction and creating new contact points via social media and mobile technology.

Enable Product Management Transformation

Enable Product Management Transformation: Insurers, in an attempt to get products to the market faster and more efficiently, are focusing on three key areas as evaluation points: product creation, changing regulatory requirements and profitability. In doing so, insurers are becoming aware of, and taking advantage of, the transformational technological capabilities for managing product content. For most insurers, the biggest impediment to creating an environment that enables product agility and market adaptability is the management of information—the flow, the access, and the data itself. But those committed to modern application architectures are able to take advantage of advanced product configuration capabilities.

Drive Dynamic Distribution Channels

Drive Dynamic Distribution Channels: As the integration of communication and information continues to gain influence over the market as a whole, consumers increasingly expect offers and services on their own terms. Therefore, the navigating and managing of channels they are interested in is growing exponentially in importance. Still, insurers must know their strengths. Mobile apps or instant online quotes may work for some, but a dynamic experience is also crucial, and insurers must have the middle- and back-office operations in place to support such interactions and flows of information. As the report notes: “It is not a one-size-fits-all market anymore.”

Apply Smarts to Underwriting

Apply Smarts to Underwriting: Automated underwriting is increasingly dictating the flow of IT budgets. Insurers are not trying to replace the human touch in most cases; rather, they are trying to augment the process, as accuracy and efficiency are most important. From there, insurers need to look for ways to share information with agents and brokers to collaborate more effectively. From leveraging external data and analytics to bringing together as many minds as possible, underwriting is a top-line burden with the potential, when done effectively, to carry huge bottom-line benefits.

Manage Communication and Content Holistically

Manage Communication and Content Holistically: With the emphasis on dynamic distribution and more consumer-centric models, providing a seamless flow of communication and content is what makes that model successful. The ability to integrate and accommodate the various ways consumers want to interact across the enterprise has the industry spending, according to SMA research, $7 billion annually on customer communication management and enterprise content management. Since it’s easier than ever for customers to expose weaknesses and hitches in operations, insurers need to use those investments to implement enterprisewide strategies that enables the early capture of accurate, complete information.

Expand Claims Beyond the Transaction

Expand Claims Beyond the Transaction: Going beyond efficiency, innovative insurers are seeking competitive differentiation by leveraging technologies and analytics to improve cycle times, recoveries and expand back-end capabilities of managing the transaction. Insurers require modern claims applications that integrate external parties and other systems. Further integration with customer communications management, mobile devices, master data management, business intelligence and predictive analytics can drastically increase the value of claims transactions. Improving service while mitigating losses is the goal, and now more than ever options are flexible and scalable.

Balance Risk and Opportunity

Balance Risk and Opportunity: Managing IT investments with an eye on enterprisewide risk and opportunity has never been more crucial. While many insurance organizations still harbor a divide between compliance functions, operations and IT leaders, the pressure for them to collaborate to best mitigate risk while leveraging opportunity is forging new means of decision-making.

Rethink Legacy

Rethink Legacy: Insurers can no longer get by with old, inflexible legacy systems as the ability to adapt to changing business needs comes by rethinking legacy. It takes agility to improve time-to-market and expand the delivery of products and service required for competitive advantage. Accordingly, architecture is taking on a new level of importance. More insurers are investing in core technologies as modern architectures make it possible to shop for plug-and-play components, best-of-breed solutions and other customizable packages that can be operated in-house, hosted offsite or stored in the cloud.

Experience Next-Gen Technologies

Experience Next-Gen Technologies: Five technologies SMA believe insurers need to have in their sights: Social media, mobile, cloud, big data and analytics. While each insurer will have different uses and assessments for each technology, the constant monitoring of trends and taking action with innovative plans as early as possible should become part of every company’s business operations.

Data and the consumer shape Strategy Meets Action's list of must-have technology action plans for insurers.

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