Hard Road to Success
Insurers headed into the year set to face some of the industry's biggest challenges, most have overcome the obstacles, but not all.
Insurance Networking News, November 1, 2012
At the beginning of the year, the major business and technology trends were analytics, consumer centrism, continued modernization and regulation. While these produce challenges, many insurers jumped right in, navigated the trends of the year and, as a result, improved business. Regulation, however, produced even more complexity, as insurers try to hone in on the effects and action items related to systemic risk, Solvency II and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Insurance technology professionals face numerous challenges every day. The following four were critical for them to overcome-or develop an action plan to overcome-in 2012 to set the right course for 2013.
Insurers are working with more data than ever, and in the past year they recognized the potential benefits of effective data analysis. Many are in the process of stepping into analytics, but there are some that made big strides in 2012. GuideOne Insurance, for one, recently was recognized with an Innovation in Action Award from consultancy and research firm Strategy Meets Action for success with analytics. With its internal data warehouse already in place, GuideOne looked to use enterprise data to monitor costs and drive business improvements by territory, segment and sub-segments. The insurer wanted to accelerate the process of getting information from its data warehouse into a useful format and delivered to those in the organization best suited to analyze and act.
Using the iPartners Insurance Scorecard business intelligence solution, GuideOne Insurance created an environment for effective decision-making, empowering executives to guide the business by analysis. Its efforts with data and analytics enable the standardization and socialization of information, reporting and metrics across the enterprise. Executives, actuarial, claims, underwriting, sales and marketing, and finance have immediate access to current data, reports, and dashboards, according to Tom Fischer, SVP and CIO at GuideOne Insurance.
Consumers continue to drive technology development. And, this past year, the industry saw increased evidence of this as insurers took some non-traditional approaches to fulfill consumer needs. The challenge insurers now face is touching the consumer/customer, while still satisfying the multiple distribution networks.
Canal Insurance, a commercial trucking operations insurer that traditionally works through the independent agent, did just that with its iPad app, Canal FRM (Fleet Risk Manager), which was released in 2012.
"Agents have always been jealous of our contact with insureds, other than when dealing with claims," Adrian Brown, CIO, said during IASA's Executive Edge Conference in October. "With permission, we've bypassed them to give fleet risk managers an app that runs on an iPad." It gives the customer the opportunity to track claims, whether open or closed, and the representative assigned to the claim.
As app development and deployment typically can take six months or less, the year was filled with app introductions and updates. According to the "Mobile Strategies: State of Mobile Apps 2012" survey, from MGI Research, many insurers are in the early phases of app adoption. Customer service-oriented apps are by far the most popular apps in development, with companies of all sizes making it the No. 1 type of app in development, especially among the largest companies.
State Farm, which research company MyPrivateBanking ranked No. 1 in the auto insurance category for app user-friendliness, quality of the content, functionality and integration of other media, updated its mobile application, Pocket Agent, in 2012. The insurer wanted to include a new look and improved navigation and enable use on a tablet. The enhanced Pocket Agent is now available on iOS and Android smartphones, and iPad and Android tablet devices. Users can view a policy, mutual funds and financial information and filing, or checking the status of a claim, State Farm said.
"A lot of what you will see in the most recent version of Pocket Agent was heavily influenced by consumer research and customer feedback," said Patty Gaumond, VP of Enterprise Internet Solutions at State Farm. "As more consumers use mobile access points to connect with us, and new devices are introduced, we must continue to focus on enhancing the customer experience across all of our platforms."
The industry has been talking about legacy modernization for years and will be for many more. By the end of 2012, insurers will have selected between 65 and 75 new claims systems, compared to 50 to 60 in 2011, according to "Market Navigator: US Property/Casualty Claims Solutions 2012," a report from consultancy and research firm Novarica.
For more information on related topics, visit the following channels:
- Customer Service
- Data Management
- Enterprise Technologies
- Insurance Network
- Policy Administration
Add Your Comments...
If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.
You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.