ECM for GWP: Enabling Growth in Insurance Through Content Management

This is the second of a three part series from Strategy Meets Action (SMA) partner – and now Hyland guest blogger – Mark Breading. You can read the first post, Content is King in the Insurance Enterprise, here.

ECM for GWP-Enabling growth in insurance through content managementEnterprise content management (ECM) and gross written premium (GWP) are two terms that are not often used in the same sentence in the insurance industry. Systems to manage documents and content have been relegated to the back office and cost cutting initiatives in years past.

However, a new role for ECM is emerging – improving communications with customers and enabling top line growth. An SMA study revealed that 48% of insurers consider managing the storage, archiving, and retrieval of documents to be highly strategic, while another 43% consider it important. In addition, 82% of survey respondents cite the capture of paper based information and its integration into systems as highly strategic or important.

As insurers fight for market share in a competitive, mature market, the interaction with prospects and customers becomes more and more vital. Customers are short on time, overloaded with information, price conscious and expectant of excellent service. Agents still play an important role, but customers also want to deal through websites and call centers, and expect to use smartphones, iPads, laptops, and many other devices. And they expect the documents they receive and the information available on the website or via call center reps to be accurate, up to the minute and easy to read.

Given the important role of documents and content in the eyes of the customer, it is not surprising that insurers are investing in IT solutions to improve customer communications and content management. According to an SMA survey of over 500 individuals, the number one business driver for investment in this area is improving customer service, with 66% of insurers citing this as a top IT investment factor. The next two top business drivers are better understanding customer needs (59%) and improving retention (50%). All three of these investment drivers are top-line oriented – aimed at growing the business, not simply cutting costs.

Not that ECM systems are difficult to cost justify. Improving operational efficiencies are part and parcel of any content management system implementation. Properly done, the reduction in paper, improved workflows, and streamlined management of information has the potential to save significant amounts of money, resulting in good return on investment (ROI). However, unlike a decade ago, the cost savings are no longer the primary reason for investing in these systems.

So what parts of the insurance business offer the most potential for ECM systems to help drive increased premiums? The answer to this question differs by insurer size, as is often the case in the insurance industry. Those with greater than $5B premium see new business/underwriting and marketing/product development as the top two areas for leveraging ECM and CCM (customer communications management) systems. They are clearly focused on the front end of the value chain and the potential to add new customers, and to cross-sell/up-sell existing customers.

On the other end of the spectrum, insurers with less than $250M premium believe that policy servicing is the key area (70% of respondents to an SMA survey cited this as a key business area). The very large insurers still focus on how to leverage ECM systems, with 44% naming this as an important business area. However, a higher percentage identified the front-end of the value chain as important for ECM.

Insurers in other tiers have a slightly different set of priorities. Mid-sized insurers ($250M to $1B in premium) focus on marketing/product development as the top area to leverage ECM/CCM systems, with claims as a close number two. The top two focus areas for Tier 2 insurers ($1B to $5B premium) are, in order, new business/underwriting and policy servicing.

Taken as a whole, there are many opportunities for ECM systems across the entire insurance value chain to improve both the top line and the bottom line. In summary, ECM and growth in GWP really do belong in the same sentence – and you can throw in ROI at the same time.

SMA_Mark BreadingAbout the Author

Mark Breading, a Partner at SMA, is a recognized industry expert in the CCM space. With exceptional knowledge and experience in all aspects of customer centricity – CCM, CRM, customer insights, ECM, data and analytics, and more, Mark is the go-to person for all things customer related. Mark can be reached at mbreading@strategymeetsaction.com

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