In my last blog, I discussed the immense benefits Robotic Process Automation (RPA) promises for life insurers. While we all agree that RPA can help drive operational excellence, the journey to overhauling business processes using this technology should be charted out carefully.

Many insurers have already experimented with some level of automation to simplify and accelerate routine transactional work. For instance, they have automated premium invoice generation, claims entry, etc. While this has certainly reduced the average handling time, these solutions are disparate and still need human intervention to input commands. This is why following a holistic and integrated approach to RPA implementation is essential to harness the full potential of this new-age technology.

Let me highlight five key ingredients that make an effective automation program:

Establish governance: Take a measured approach to ensure collaboration and alignment between the COO and CTO. Follow a top-down approach to avoid clashes with other change programs.

Define the road map: Establish a clear vision and strategy for the automation initiative, and consider automation and process improvement tools, other than RPA, that suit your business requirements.

Identify the right processes: Not all processes are suitable candidates for automation. Analyze process characteristics in detail to identify tasks that are repetitive, manually intensive and rule based and can be automated.

Build an effective capability: Establish robust processes that are aligned to the broader business, IT and change framework, and also enable agile delivery of tactical changes.

Plan talent impact: RPA has a multi-dimensional impact on the workforce. Front-office teams are most likely to welcome RPA as a positive development. However, for middle- and back-office operations, where the scope of automation is significant, the teams might have a different perspective. They might see automation as a threat to their roles. Therefore, it is important to think through the best way to secure stakeholder buy-in.

Carefully designing the RPA implementation road map, considering the points above, will ensure a powerful and highly efficient automation program. With time, life insurers will realize that this amazing technology is not only essential for optimizing costs and reengineering operations but also for boosting long-term growth prospects.

Please read our point of view on RPA in insurance to explore the topic in greater detail.

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