In my last two posts I’ve talked about the potential benefits of automation and cognitive computing on the insurance industry. This week I’ll look at three trends we can expect to see as a result of analytics and automation.

Focus on customer administration

For the last decade we’ve spent much of our time focussed on policy and claims administration. We’ve seen major improvements in technology platforms for insurance products, with legacy systems transformed to streamline claims processing, improve efficiency and reduce costs, and we’re continuing to see advancements with the new automated systems. But now insurance companies are beginning to shift their focus away from policy and claims administration—to customer administration.

Customer administration means:

  • Placing the customer at the centre of the industry.
  • Developing insights into the individuals and businesses being served.
  • Taking a customer-centric view of the market.

Interact with customers in real time

With the rise of mobility and customer expectations that insurers will be available to answer their questions 24/7, and this new view of the customer at the centre of the model, insurers are moving toward using real-time analytics to predict and address customer needs. The trend we see here is that this level of responsiveness to customers is changing from being an innovation to a necessity. In a recent Accenture survey, we found that 90 percent of respondents said it was important to them to be able to contact their insurance provider at any time and to get a real-time status of their claim.

Digital channels are also key. In the same survey, 61 percent of respondents said that they would prefer to use digital channels to check the status of a claim, and 44 percent said they would switch providers because of a lack of digital capabilities.

Use analytics and external data to help customers

A third trend we anticipate is the use of analytics and external data to provide insurance customers with timely advice. Automation and cognitive computing are helping insurers become more efficient at administration, which is freeing up time and resources to figure out new ways to help customers.

Until now, insurers have used analytics to help them gain a better understanding of their customers so they can improve the customer experience after a customer has made a claim—this is known as retroactive analytics. But in the future, we’ll see predictive analytics being used to help reduce the number of customer claims. For example, by analysing crime statistics or injury trends, insurers will be in the position to proactively contact customers about ways to keep their home secure or to avoid certain injuries. These sorts of interventions will help insurers in two ways, by minimising the number of claims made and by maximising the benefit for their customers.

As we’ve seen, automation and cognitive computing are going to play a bigger and bigger role for insurers. But in addition to that, a greater focus on people—both internal and external customers, and the right talent—will become absolutely critical for insurance providers seeking to become industry leaders.

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