InsurTech update: Implications for content and process management

When the InsurTech startup movement began in earnest about three years ago, there were many doubters and naysayers among the insurance crowd. Since then, the number and variety of InsurTechs have increased dramatically, covering every part of the insurance industry and every part of the globe.

InsurTech gains momentum

Venture capital funding has continued to pour in, including significant funding directly from insurance companies. Partnerships between InsurTech firms and insurers are being announced every day. In short, the movement is maturing, though still a long way from being mature and producing major industry transformation.

Nonetheless, many of the new InsurTechs are leveraging the emerging technologies and data related to connected-world solutions. This trend – capturing, managing, and leveraging data from many connected things – is just in the early stages. Over the next decade, it will play a vital role in the industry’s digital transformation.

There are already hundreds of InsurTechs capitalizing on this new data and providing solutions to insurers. An important aspect for insurers to consider is what this means to them regarding the capture and management of data (particularly unstructured data), and how InsurTechs will cause workflows to be revamped, reinvented, or created from scratch.

The types of new unstructured digital content

The connected devices in smart homes, telematics in vehicles, and the sensors and embedded chips in many commercial environments generate enormous volumes of real-time data. Much of this data is structured data, flowing into enterprises for the analysis of trends or the identification of problems.

However, there is also a great deal of new data that is unstructured, and the volumes are destined to increase exponentially over the next decade. Some examples of the unstructured data relevant for insurers include:

  • Video and digital images

Drones, aerial imagery, mobile device image/video capture, visioning systems, and the coming wave of augmented reality will provide new insights for insurers to aid in marketing segmentation, underwriting, loss control engineering, claims, and other areas. Drones are already experiencing broad usage for inspections and claims, and mobile capture solutions for claims first-notice-of-loss are appearing on the market (for adjusters and policyholders).

  • Text messaging and other unstructured communications

One implication of the increasingly digitally connected world is that interactions between policyholders and insurers are likely to grow dramatically. InsurTechs recognize this opportunity and many feature enhanced customer experiences, leveraging text messaging for alerts, advice, policyholder requests, and other communications.

  • Apps

Many InsurTechs lead with a smartphone app to manage connected devices, insurance policies, and other interactions. As this is how more and more customers prefer to interact with businesses, insurance app forms and messaging will only continue to increase over time.

Implications for insurance processes and workflows

It will be a challenge for insurers, as they need to capture and manage all this data, from all the new sources. In these early stages, many POCs or initial rollouts are doing this in an ad hoc manner, but as the volume and variety of these solutions increase, insurers will need to turn to more proven, enterprise approaches for unstructured data.

All of the new data (structured and unstructured) and new solutions will result in changes to existing processes and workflows, and in some cases, the creation of brand new workflows. Incorporating the new image, video, messaging, and app data with existing transaction systems will require advanced systems to design and orchestrate processes – in other words, modern solutions for enterprise content management (also called content services) and business process management.

In many cases, InsurTechs organized as agents, MGAs, or tech companies that focus on distribution, underwriting, claims, and other specific areas are creating their own workflows. And InsurTechs that are new insurance companies require a broader set of capabilities.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of InsurTechs are partnering with incumbent insurers and will need to exchange information and integrate with their systems. This means insurers need to begin developing strategies and plans now for how to accommodate the new digital content, new partnerships, and new/changed workflows that will be a key part of the industry’s digital transformation.

Change is coming. Are you ready?

Mark Breading

Mark Breading is a partner at Strategy Meets Action. Mark is a recognized expert in advanced technologies and their implications for the insurance industry. He has exceptional knowledge of the customer experience, analytics, digital content management, and maturing and emerging technologies. You can follow him at @BreadingSMA on Twitter.

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