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Innovation elevates the entire insurance value chain

René Schoenauer – Director, Product Marketing, EMEA at Guidewire Software

It is no secret anymore that the insurance industry globally is facing accelerated transition and change caused by raised customer expectations, fast evolving digital technology and advanced data and analytical capabilities.

Customers are expecting the same speed, convenience and transparency as they are use to from global platform and ecosystem players like Amazon, Netflix or Spotify. And it is not only the policyholder who has that expectation, but also any stakeholder within the entire insurance value chain searching for the same state-of-the-art experiences.

All of this is accelerated by the “New Normal” the world finds itself since the beginning of 2020 with the pandemic fuelling the need and desire for excellent digital journeys and experiences.

With every stakeholder throughout the insurance value chain expecting speed, convenience and transparency, innovation is necessary within every phase of that chain. 

In Product and Pricing technology and new tooling provides insurers with the ability to create new products that are more flexible and tailored to the needs of the policyholder. Innovative tools for product development and design increase the ability of business departments to create new or adjust existing products with fewer iterations and shortened deployment cycles and thus decrease the overall time-to-market and gain the ability to increase customer satisfaction and customer retention rates through personalized products that are more transparent and better to understand for their customers. 

There are various use cases around usage-based insurance like telematics driven Pay-As-You-Go insurance solutions for motor lines or parametric insurance solutions through IoT technology and automatic real-time adjustments of insurance rates or coverages based on internal or external circumstances changing detected by sensors. This applies to both personal and commercial lines insurance. The benefits of such solutions start with premium growth through new products, increased customer satisfaction and retention, but also span over to improved time-to-market and lower operational cost in product design, development and deployment.

In Marketing & Sales technology offers a variety of opportunities to grow an insurers business and market share by reaching new customers and improve satisfaction of existing customers.

This can be achieved through deployment of new channels and more importantly by providing policyholders a true omnichannel experience through seamless integration of all communication touchpoints an insurer offers to them. Customers want to be met at their terms and convenience is one of the most important criteria in this context. In addition, digital technology and advanced data and analytics help insurers to gain deeper insight about their policyholders and their needs. It will help developing more personalized offerings, recommendation on new coverages or adjustment of existing coverages based on changing risk profiles which will lead to a more targeted engagement with policyholders and thus improve customer retention. 

In Underwriting insurers can achieve higher operational efficiency and sustainable business growth through innovative technology. 

The two biggest drivers in this area are advanced data and analytics and technology like drones or IoT devices and sensors. With new insights from data insurers will be able to better assess, evaluate and price new categories of risk like cyber or reputational risk, risk categories that have been a challenge for underwriting in the past. Data will allow an underwriter to make better informed and more accurate decision. At the same time, the new data and insights can be used for automation purposes. Drones and IoT devices provide capabilities for innovative risk assessment. Both will have an impact on operational efficiency either directly or indirectly through higher automation rates or reduced cycle times. Another benefit will come through increased customer satisfaction as underwriting decisions will be shortened and more transparent to policyholders.

In the area of Policy Admin and Service the innovation opportunity lies in personalization of the whole customer relationship and the ability for insurers to provide new enriched services to their customers and agents.

Insurers will be able to act more proactively with risk advice and risk prevention services and tackle a challenge where a lot of platform and ecosystem players have raised the bar: closing the engagement gap with the customer. Customer satisfaction and retention will be positively improved, the insurer has the ability to proactively reduce occurred losses with innovative risk advice and prevention services

Last but not least looking at innovation in claims. Telematics solutions can automatically create a first notice of loss in case of a car accident, the same technology can at the same time call emergency and vendor services like towing and help the policyholder in a stressful and emotional moment.

The claim itself can be enriched with detailed data about the damage of a car and additional parameters like acceleration and thus help assess the assessment of the accident situation.

Advanced data and analytics help insurers in loss reduction through detection of fraudulent cases, identify the risk of litigation, help in segmentation based on predicted claims severity and help in either automating claims or escalating them to specialized teams.

And finally, insurers can offer their policyholders convenience and transparency through innovative technology where it matters the most, in the moment of truth.

This is just a quick overview on opportunities and in summary, innovation is possible in any phase of the insurance value chain with huge benefits for any stakeholder, be it the insurer, the policyholder, the underwriter the agent or any other stakeholder. 

One key element to those benefits is technology that enables the IT department to act more agile and as an innovation enabler and thus increase the agility of the business as well.

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