#CommunityLIVE: The top 3 challenges for insurers in 2017 and beyond

After a rousing opening general session at #CommunityLIVE, insurance leaders and innovators from around the globe gathered to talk about the state of the insurance industry in 2017, with a look ahead to 2018 and beyond.

Charlie Hanna, domestic director, Hyland Insurances Solutions Group, led the session, opening by saying, “Today, right now, Hyland is at the top of its game. I am most excited about the change that is happening in insurance right now. We have the technology that can fundamentally change your organization. We have a path to help you with digital success.”

Hanna talked a bit about digital transformation and what it means to the insurance industry, reminding those gathered that nearly 70 percent of most insurers’ corporate business systems are legacy applications. Those solutions, while comfortable for both users and administrators because of their familiarity with them, pose a roadblock to true digital transformation. They do not provide insurers with a complete view of their insureds’ information and can leave companies vulnerable to cyberattack and legal scrutiny.

“Information needs to be secure – and secure when exchanged,” Hanna said.

He later outlined the top three challenges facing the insurance industry in 2017 and beyond.

Challenge 1: Sunsetting legacy systems

While some insurers are comfortable with their legacy systems, confidence is waning for many. More than half of life insurers and nearly half of P&C insurers ranked themselves as “poor” or “very poor” in portals, CRM, predictive analytics, workflow and business process management, according to a Novarica study.

The decision to sunset older technology is the first step into a larger, modern world. It offers the opportunity to address maintenance issues, which grow imperceptibly over time, unless you review their negative effect on the bottom line.

A new solution improves processes and makes it easier to make confident decisions fast, which allows for greater agility. Insurers soon discover technology that is easier to implement, administer and use. Gone is the need for specialized knowledge, which is important when addressing talent and resources.

Challenge 2: Core system replacement

Many insurers are kickstarting their digital transformations by replacing core systems. In fact, nearly one-quarter of respondents said so in a recent study by Novarica. That includes customer portals, policy administration, claims and billing systems. Others are enhancing business intelligence systems, agent portals, underwriter workflow, workflow/BMP systems and document creation/CCM systems.

While more efficient and faster processes, cost savings and revenue generation encourage core replacement, the driving force for change is risk mitigation. Cybersecurity and regulatory compliance factors into the decision, but the rapid decline of specialized expertise to maintain those decades-old systems makes replacement imperative.

Call it technological self-preservation. And it’s the perfect lead in to our final challenge.

Challenge 3: Talent and resources

Legacy sunsetting and core replacement is dependent on a handful of challenges almost removed from technology altogether: Recruiting top talent, ensuring their organization’s overall effectiveness, and working with tight budgets and resource restraints. One way around this challenge is to implement a point-and-click configurable, low-code platform. One in which checkboxes, radio buttons and drop-down menus can drive configuration, making it easier to train end users and quickly configure solutions.

No more expensive, time-consuming and difficult-to-maintain coding or scripting.

While these challenges can seem daunting, insurers can overcome them, as long as they plan thoroughly and follow the plan to completion. Those that do will soon discover they can provide new product offerings and a better customer experience, as well as maintain regulatory compliance and better protect their insureds’ personal information.

The key is to use these challenges as opportunities.

Cara McFarlane

Cara McFarlane recently joined Hyland as the global portfolio manager for its insurance vertical. In her role, she is responsible for leading the software company’s strategic marketing strategy to effectively position OnBase as a leading enterprise information platform within the insurance market. Cara oversees all marketing initiatives to plan, execute and manage Hyland’s insurance marketing tactics including lead generation, tradeshow management and development of collateral. With more than 17 years’ experience in the software industry, Cara advises organizations on best practices to digitize processes and become more efficient.

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