The digital insurer: Operationalizing your strategy

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We live and work in the digital era.

Insurers, keen on meeting customer expectations and improving operations, are striving to capitalize on digital capabilities. Many have even stated that they want to become “digital insurers.” But what does that mean, exactly?

Some insurers think of digital in the context of their channel strategies, looking to create or enhance their self-service capabilities as well as improve digital solutions for their channel partners. That is certainly front-and-center when it comes to being digital – presenting a modern, digital face to the outside world. But that is only one part of being a digital enterprise.

Digital capabilities must span the company, enabling every part of the business to improve efficiencies, rapidly respond to new opportunities, and support the evolving needs of customers, partners, employees, and other parties. Many insurers have developed overall strategies to become digital, but the challenge is often in operationalizing those strategies.

3 keys to your digital strategy

There are three primary areas you should consider when putting digital strategies into action:

1. Digital content

Being digital is not possible without digital content. On one hand, insurers have been on a digital journey for decades, creating and managing digital content to support transactions and operations. On the other hand, there are still a great deal of paper documents, statements, correspondence, presentations, and other types of content insurers are creating and managing.

Add to that the many new forms of content from the digital, connected world, and there is an increasing need for sophisticated solutions to manage digital content.

2. Digital workflows

Content is only useful when organizations make it available to the right systems and people, whether those happen to be inside the insurance company, at partner organizations, or in the hands of a customer. Optimized workflows are vital to ensuring processes and content support the daily activities of agents, underwriters, adjusters, and other insurance professionals.

The ability to design and operationalize digital workflows in concert with transactional systems is essential to becoming a digital insurer. Workflows automate processes, automatically forwarding complete and accurate documents and information while alerting stakeholders along the way. Not only are workflows more efficient than paper-based processes, they generate savings and allow insurers to have instant access to the most current information.

3. Digital interactions

Interactions and communications of all types benefit from digital options. Today more and more customers, employees, and others demand mobile, self-service, and automated interactions. Whether exchanging information with external parties (prospects, producers, policyholders) or working with colleagues internally, digital interactions improve the speed and accuracy of business operations.

Improving digital capabilities across the company – in marketing, distribution, underwriting, claims, and back office areas – allows insurers to be more nimble, more efficient, and more competitive. Those that excel at capturing, creating, and managing digital content also have more opportunities to gain new insights from the data.

Finally, digital is not just a nice-to-have capability. And having a number of individual projects that might be classified as digital is not enough. Developing the kinds of capabilities required for digital content, workflows, and interactions requires a comprehensive enterprise strategy. It should be a business-driven strategy that is in alignment with the technology strategy.

It’s best to implement a digital enterprise strategy with modern technology platforms that support all parts of the business, delivered by trusted technology partners. That, in turn, allows you to not only be a digital insurer, but a trusted one as well.

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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