The digital future of insurance was top of mind at the DigIn 2019 conference in Austin, TX this May. Speakers and attendees alike were there to share their digital journey as well as get insight on how to start, improve, or maximize their various transformation efforts.
In ValueMomentum’s panel discussion at the conference – Framework for Digital Transformation: Perspectives from InsurTech Thought Leaders, Pekin and Everest –we focused on sharing tips and best practices to help organizations enable and optimize for digital to achieve true transformation. Our speakers, Matteo Carbone (Director, IoT Insurance Observatory), Subhasis Mukherjee (VP & CIO, Pekin Insurance) and Ram Veeramani (VP Technology Services, Everest Re) agree that on a journey as important to the future of the organization as this one, having digital ambition as well as a culture that supports that ambition is a strategic first step.
Right off the bat, Matteo Carbone, a recognized global InsurTech thought leader, reminded everyone that how we leverage technology, in particular IoT, should always be tied back to the way we attract and serve our customers. After all, it is the value and quality of service that will give insurers the competitive edge they need to win in the digital age. This includes providing engaging customer experience, offering customized products, giving discounts, incentives, rewards, and cash-back to create value for customers and distributors, and improving customer service, especially in the area of claims. All this can be done through the use of IoT data, which will provide knowledge about customers and their preferred interactions. Learning more about customers through data will be extremely valuable to the digital journey.
Before starting a digital journey, however, insurers need to build foundational requirements that will enable digital capabilities. Subhasis of Pekin Insurance shared that their first point of attack was to modernize their core systems to create an ecosystem within their technology base that is more conducive towards a digital journey. Second, they moved their IT workload (and soon their business workload) into the cloud. Subhasis explained the move saying, “What that gives is a huge lift in terms of IT workload optimization, environment creation, DevOps, CI/CD, etc.” Third, Pekin modernized their data for data reporting, data analysis, data signs and data analytics. In parallel with this three phase approach, Pekin worked on transforming the beliefs, values and principles of the culture to move it from the traditional world to an agile one.
Everest Re’s approach to digital enablement was similar to Pekin’s. Ram explained that in addition to modernizing their core and moving to the cloud, Everest is also transitioning to become a more mainstream insurance carrier with their own products, expertise and distribution channels.
After laying the foundation for digital with the right pieces of technology, the next part is to optimize the technology. Subhasis suggested that insurers “think holistically as to how you’re going to create the product of its inception with the technology at its base.” Approaching it this way will help insurers be a truly digital company rather than a company trying to do some digital projects. Important aspects to have in this optimization process are IT talent, InsurTech partnerships, and leaders who are plugged-in. As Ram said, “The value really comes from business leaders in terms of understanding how these technologies can enable transformation.”
But even digital optimization is not enough. True transformation requires insurers to go beyond traditional insurance to come up with new channels and models to drive revenue. Some tips our panelists have to achieve success in this endeavor include:
- Be more business outcome oriented than project and process oriented
- Develop seeds of commitment inside your company to move culture
- Have good partners for skillset gaps needed for success
- Look at everything through the lens of customer first
- Have clarity around your vision at all levels of the organization
- Don’t underestimate the need for execution discipline
As shared by our speakers, digital enablement, digital optimization and an environment where the culture and leaders align with the technical changes going on will put you in a position to succeed in this digital transformation journey.
Check out our Digital & Cloud Services to learn how we can help you on your digital journey.