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02 May '15 | Debjyoti Paul

German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

Shoppers Will Share Personal Information (But They Don’t Want to be “Friends”)

15 January '15 | Anil Venkat

Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

Benelux Reaches the Phy-gital Tipping Point: Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial

13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

The Digital Insurer: Putting It All Together

Posted on: 27 May '15
Karen Furtado
Partner at SMA

With the digital revolution going on all around us, the insurance industry is starting to recognize that true opportunity lies in proactive rather than reactive approaches to product design, risk management, customer relationships, and business models. The concept of the Digital Insurer offers guidance on what specific capabilities must be addressed in order to move a company toward that proactive model.

As the name suggests, the Digital Insurer embraces current and future technologies in order to fortify its market position and create opportunities. But a chief characteristic of today’s technology is its interconnectedness, allowing data from thousands of different sources to be correlated, analyzed, and leveraged to refine a company’s market strategy. Insurers mired in legacy technology, particularly in their core systems, find it difficult to make those connections, because of both the capabilities of their existing systems and the timeline involved in modernizing those systems. Piecemeal system replacement may seem like the most practical approach for many insurers, but the risk they run is that each project has its own scope that does not always extend to holistic integration with the company’s other systems, technology roadmap, or overall business processes.

The Digital Insurer can overcome that segmentation by establishing a unified digital strategy that guides technology initiatives across the organization and focuses on a consistent customer experience. That strategy touches everything from how a company presents itself and makes itself available via mobile, web, and social media to higher-level discussions like how branding and communication can be tailored to specific customer groups and various media. There are too many moving parts here for an insurer to be able to coordinate them without an overarching vision and a specific plan on how to achieve it.

As an example, data management alone mandates a big-picture view. The market is becoming aware of the real possibilities of big data, not only to optimize the existing analytic capabilities of point solutions but also to be able to draw conclusions from the data from all of a company’s systems, third-party sources, and unstructured data that has never been captured before, much less utilized (e.g. the data on exercise habits that wearables can provide). The insights from that vast array of data allow an insurer to make more accurate predictions of risk, which in turn opens new possibilities for the relationship with the insured. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, after all. A relatively simple cross-reference between claims history in a given location and publicly available meteorological data like water table measurements and rainfall predictions could identify which homeowners policyholders are most at risk of basement flooding at specific times of the year. Which insurance company will make a more memorable impression, one with an easy-to-navigate claims process for basement repairs, or one that reaches out to their customer six months in advance to start a conversation with them about strategies to prevent flooding? How much gain could there be when the neighbors realize that because of that insurer’s tailored, proactive communication one person on their block was spared a flooded basement?

The good news is that many of these tools are available today, and the insurance industry has the unique opportunity of learning from other industries that have already started using them. Innovation, for the Digital Insurer, can be in the creative application of widespread technologies, like predictive analytics solutions with graphic databases and fuzzy search functionality, and those still proving their applicability, like telematics, wearables, and drones. With a clear vision for how to embrace these technologies as well as those still nascent, insurers can move from their disjointed current environments toward the harmonized technical environment of the Digital Insurer.

Karen Furtado

Karen Furtado, a Partner at SMA, has an exceptional understanding of core systems in insurance and the transformations required to achieve success. Her expertise is comprehensive - policy administration, rating, product configuration, billing, and claims - and is combined with a deep understanding of how to integrate mature and emerging technologies with core systems. Those seeking an edge in today's highly competitive world turn to Karen to capitalize on her unparalleled knowledge and experience in connecting solutions to business and IT requirements. Read more: