Across industries, enterprises are facing ever-increasing competition and struggling to sustain and grow their businesses in the digital age. As customers have more choices for products and services than ever before, “delivering superior customer experience” has become a business necessity to differentiate an enterprise’s brand and build customer loyalty.
Like their peers in other industries, insurance and financial services providers are under increasing pressure to speed-up cycle times, meet changing customer demands, and reduce costs. Unfortunately, the tedious back-office operations, severe dependence on manual work, and outdated processes and legacy systems continue to be major roadblocks for many firms. Given these obstacles, what can organizations do to gain a competitive edge and stay relevant to their customers in today’s evolving digital landscape?
Digitization of Data is the key
Insurance and financial services has traditionally been a data-heavy industry. An enormous amount of data gets collected across business processes such as sales, underwriting, billing and claims, etc. in the form of scanned documents/forms like proposal forms, loan documents, claims assessment reports, police reports, driver reports, accident reports, beneficiary forms, and other financial statements. Organizations also capture supplemental KYC (Know Your Customer) documents like proof of identity, proof of address, photographs, etc. This immense (and increasing) volume of data must be captured and processed quickly.
With legacy systems, the burden falls on employees to manually extract and capture relevant customer data from the slew of documents and files for these business processes. The intensive manual effort is not only prone to error but also often results in thousands of pages of insurance documents sitting on hard drives every day. This inevitably leads to slower turn-around time and poor customer service.
To overcome the tedium and inefficiency of traditional data extraction and verification practices, insurance and financial services firms have started to embrace digitization — the conversion of text, images, or voice/speech into a digital format that can be processed by computers or digital devices, that drives automation to create better experiences for customers and generate higher value for insurers. Many firms are now looking for ways to leverage digitization to strategically streamline and automate their operations, especially for processes involving numerous documents. Additional benefits of digitization are depicted in the figure below.
Digitization converts information in the forms/documents – text and images – into a digital format and makes such data accessible for analysis, communications, reporting, etc. This brings agility and flexibility, with seamless flow of data across both the insurance and financial services value chain, allowing companies to move faster in responding to customer requests with required information and hence deliver value to them at the right moment– e.g., when a customer is looking for policy or opening an account, or when a claim is being filed. From our experience of working with numerous clients on their data extraction, validation, and consolidation efforts, we see that moving away from manual practices and embracing digitization helps improve process efficiencies by 50% to 70%. Hence, digitization is a fundamental component of insurance and financial operations since it can help bind processes, capabilities, and organizational goals effectively.
Three Major Opportunities for Digitizing Data in the Insurance and Financial Services Value Chain
With the advent of technologies like AI, conversational analytics, and machine learning, enterprises can tap into easy and effective data extraction, classification, and validation via digitization. Here are three major areas where digitization of data can play a vital role in improving process efficiencies and the insurance and financial services experience.
- Driving Efficiency and Insights with the Digitization of Forms and ID Cards
During the customer onboarding process, many insurance and financial services companies require customers to submit certain documents as per KYC compliance norms to verify customers’ identity and obtain other relevant information. This is usually a time-consuming, error-prone, manual process in which the customer is expected to submit digital copies of required documents. These documents would then be manually reviewed to identify if it is in-line with the information on the submitted proposal form. Information like name or address and the photograph of the customer would also be extracted and validated.
Similarly, in claims processing in insurance, significant time and effort is invested in extracting and re-keying data from claims into internal systems. Moreover, today’s claims adjusters must go outside of their internal claims systems to access certain forms and documents available only in a content management store and rekey them as needed, which is a costly affair.
By leveraging Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies, insurance and financial services firms can automatically scan and extract data from documents, digitizing hundreds of documents in a matter of a few hours. Moreover, an AI-driven OCR solution can allow insurance systems to read and extract information stored in reports, forms, and ID cards as inputs for policy and claims processing, driving process efficiencies. Such extracted data can be subsequently analyzed to derive actionable insights.
- Improving Customer Experience with Voice, Conversational, and Speech Analytics
Since many queries are still conducted via phone, insurance and financial services companies can record and analyze calls with voice, speech, and use conversational analytics technologies to understand and resolve customer pain points. Voice analytics solutions leverage speech-to-text or transcription technology that can automatically categorize conversations by keywords and phrases—a capability that opens up customized search capabilities based on keywords and phrases. With voice analytics to analyze the voice/audio content, providers can gain insights into customer needs and thus can offer a superior, personalized customer service experience.
Insurers and financial services firms can also utilize conversational analytics to investigate the tone of the conversation, capture customer feedback, and highlight certain pain points of the agents or customer service reps from their conversations with the customers - in terms of responding to customers’ queries, and guiding customers towards resolution of their issues. Conversational analytics can thus provide insight into service providers’ abilities to interact with customers, and hence insurers can recommend certain trainings to improve their performance.
Additionally, insurance and financial services companies can leverage speech analytics in their contact centers to monitor and analyze data from any and every interaction. With this, enterprises can be better equipped to understand the sentiments and emotions of their customers, apply insights to improve customer experience, and ultimately help win and retain customers.
Today’s insurance and financial services customers expect exceptional service and immediate responses to their queries related to accounts, policies, claims, and process issues. A single, dissatisfactory incident may be enough to compel a customer to switch to another provider that offers better solutions and customer service. As such, it is essential for enterprises to embrace innovative technologies that enable them to offer enhanced customer experiences to help improve customer service, align agent training and development, and build brand loyalty in the digital age.
- Enhancing Operational Efficiency and Agility with Automated Document Classification
A huge number of documents need to be processed and classified across core insurance and financial services processes every day. These documents may be printed, handwritten, or contain signatures; each comes with different compliance needs for capturing and validating the information within the documents. Moreover, documents that contain unstructured data pose complications in process automation, as they cannot be easily digitized. Although classifying and processing these documents takes significant time and effort, customers still expect a near real-time response to every request. It is thus vital for companies to be able to process this data and make swift decisions with utmost accuracy.
Powered by machine learning technology, cognitive document processing (CDP) solutions can automate document processing by extracting data from unstructured documents; classifying documents (such as business documents and KYC documents) into user-defined categories; improving organization; and enabling analysis of data while ensuring security at reduced costs. All in all, CDP offers insurance and financial services firms the ability to significantly enhance operational efficiencies, increase quality and compliance, and gain business agility.
From automating manual processes to improving customer experiences, AI-driven data digitization technologies offer multiple competitive advantages across the entire insurance and financial services value chain. Companies who have successfully adopted these digitization technologies are seeing a significant impact on their operations and business.
Ready to employ AI-driven document automation to drive digitization across your core insurance and financial business processes? Check out our Data Services page to find out how your firm can get ahead in the race to digital.