The new era of digital capture in insurance

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Digital capture in insurance was once relatively simple. It was all about imaging documents – scan a document, index and provide keywords, and then store it in a repository where it would be available for use in the enterprise. Over time, the scope and complexity of digital capture have increased significantly.

Fortunately, the leaders in software solutions for capture have offered capabilities that mask that complexity while increasing the functionality. A fresh look at the opportunities for digital capture for today’s digital world reveals we have entered an entirely new era of digital capture.

The world has become much more digital, and insurers are racing to keep up. In 2017, 72 percent of North American insurers either have strategic initiatives underway or will begin initiatives to become digital enterprises, according to SMA research. This percentage is rising sharply as more insurers recognize that the ability to capture, create, and leverage digital data of all sorts is essential – not just for operational efficiencies, but for competitive advantage as well.

Digital data sources are rapidly expanding

Insurers are increasingly seeking to capture the following types of data, from both traditional sources and new emerging technology sources. (The following include examples of both structured and unstructured data.)

  • Aerial imagery/drones

Digital images and video are becoming more precise and more widely available from satellite imagery, aircraft, and drones.

  • SMS text messages

Individuals and businesses communicate important information and conduct transactions with text messaging, and the volumes are astronomical.

  • Audio recordings

Every day, insurers are recording and using voice notes/annotations, depositions, informational podcasts, marketing messages, and many other types of audio.

  • Real-time video

The video recording of live events and incidents is widespread due to the availability of smartphones. Video recording for monitoring purposes is also increasing throughout the world.

  • Digital images

Pictures of driver’s licenses and pictures of auto VIN numbers, equipment serial numbers, and other insurable items are increasingly making their way into databases for use by individuals and businesses.

In addition, a wide variety of data from wearables, smart devices, messaging apps, e-mail, surveillance cameras, connected cars, and many other sources are generating huge amounts of digital data that are useful for insurance purposes.

Digital data offers new business opportunities

People and organizations are creating vast amounts of digital data and using it for entertainment and information purposes. But a great deal of digital data also has high value for the insurance industry.

Insurers are using aerial imagery data for underwriting purposes: to inspect rooftops, commercial properties, and other structures. Many insurers now use drones to assist with catastrophe claims. Underwriters, loss control engineers, adjusters, and others commonly add their spoken commentary to a file or record their impressions and opinions via audio.

Real-time video from vehicles, properties, or public structures is used to recreate accident or crime scenes. Text messages may include information that should be retained regarding underwriting assessments or agent/policyholder communications. These are but a few of the many ways that insurers are already using a broad range of digital data to improve operations and enhance communications.

Digital capture is the key

None of the potential for capitalizing on digital data can be realized unless it is captured in the first place.

The initial capture is, in some ways, the easy part. Electronic devices, cameras, computers, and, yes, even scanners and fax machines are capturing digital content around the clock. For that data to be useful for insurers, sophisticated software solutions are required to authenticate, extract, convert, index, classify, encrypt, translate, route, and store the information. Governance systems must be available to manage the data, make it available to authorized users and systems, orchestrate records retention policies, ensure compliance, and enable discovery.

It’s a long list. And, each of these capabilities is important and complex in its own right.

Ultimately, it is vital for insurers to leverage a modern platform for digital capture – a platform that addresses all types of digital content. It must provide all the functions for manipulating and managing digital data. And it must be easily used by insurance professionals and systems, integrate well with other solutions, and be adaptable to the changing digital world.

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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