Although this year has been difficult for the insurance industry, the 4th annual Global Insurtech Summit breathed an aura of enthusiasm throughout various interesting presentations, panel discussions, and workshops. We thoroughly enjoyed the 3 days that covered over 20 different topics glancing towards both the imminent future of insurance and the infinite possibilities that the industry has before it.
While many of the topics discussed are explored daily in the insurance world, the different speakers expertly managed to lift them in new lights and show them from new perspectives. Below we want to share 4 of the most compelling insurance outlooks that we witnessed at this year’s Global Insurtech Summit!
1. Top technologies disrupting the insurance industry (and how your company should use them to differentiate)
AI and Machine Learning
According to Pankaj Kulkarni, Business Unit Head – Insurance and Head – FS Solutions at HCL Technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are the two top technologies disrupting the insurance industry. While it’s currently being used for profiling customers, segmentation, the propensity to buy, and intake automation, major advancements will push insurance processes even further.
In the future, AI and ML will empower automatic assessments, AI-based fraud detection, and intelligent advisors, among many more. It will help insurance companies predict consumers’ activities and prescribe actions in the context of the insurance.
Dan Lopez, VP of Shared Digital Services at Aflac mentions that AI and ML also present immense possibilities in revolutionizing business processes and core foundational elements around integration, microservices, and intelligence in the back-end.
Internet of Things (IoT) has been a hot topic for a while now, and it has reason to be. Devices such as drones, wearables, sensors, vehicular devices, and smartphone apps are already used for gathering and assessing tons of information. The field is continuously developing, especially in wearables and connected objects. With the Internet of Behavior, IoT will play a big role in providing loss preventative services, improving pricing measures, and enabling continuous underwriting.
As Parul Kaul-Green mentions, access to medicine should be easier than it is today. This is where telematics and telemedicine play a huge role and present a win-win situation for both consumers and insurers. For consumers, telematics makes it possible to receive new, more relevant products and offers that insurers couldn’t create before. Telematics, in tandem with IoT, also serves as a source for deeper personalization, effectively enabling on-demand insurance, allowing users to switch their insurance on and off. For insurers, telematics gives the ability to identify and manage risk more effectively, creating fairer pricing.
“Health insurance companies realized the importance of working with the health tech ecosystem to deliver patient empowerment solutions. So on the member journey, AXA uses AI symptom checkers, virtual consultations, and other solutions provided by health tech companies”, says Parul Kaul-Green, Chief of Staff, APAC and Europe AXA XL.
Speaking of customer experience, the power of digital is, as Kulkarni says, one that can’t be underestimated for a second longer. Digital isn’t only a key element in customizing customer interactions and promoting cross-sell and up-sell. The advances in this area will push operations to a new level while improving personalization and enabling seamless sales and services (including self-service) across omnichannel. All the while in the back-end, big progress is being made towards low and no-code development.
Big Data and Cloud Technologies
Dan Lopez mentions Big Data and Cloud Technologies when speaking about some pivotal technologies insurers should embrace to flourish in the industry. Furthermore, when discussing how insurance companies should use these technologies to differentiate themselves, he states the following:
“When insurance companies are planning on what technologies to implement, what they want to differentiate should be the main driver. They should also dare to look at the horizon and try out technologies that might not perfectly fit their strategy but will significantly advance them. Innovative technologies that can move the needle and support learning, testing, and moving forward will allow insurers to adjust products and services in ways they might not even think of. While we’ll see insurance companies trying things out themselves, collaboration with insurtechs will allow them to provide the ultimate experience.”
How can you use insurtech to outperform and pick the right one for you? Read more here >>.
Ian M. Thompson, Group Chief Claims Officer at Zurich, emphasizes the responsibility and extreme care that comes with the handling and usage of customers’ data. Thompson mentions that the inherent costs and bad experiences that come with a claim have never been the best solution. Therefore, insurers should help people avoid the necessity to even make a claim in the first place. Preventing loss by taking advantage of data is something that will help insurance companies remain relevant and prosper in the market.
2. Top business objectives for insurance companies coming out of the pandemic (from 3 top insurance executives!)
The keynote panel discussion “The Insurance Leaders’ Perspective” featured 3 top insurance executives Sarah Greasly, Chief Technology Officer at Direct Line Group, Ian M. Thompson, Group Chief Claims Officer at Zurich, and Sumit Mehra, Chief Operating Officer at Global Captive Practice Willis Towers Watson. During their chat, they delved into their main objectives coming out of the pandemic.
Invest in technology
The speakers agree that investment in technology is one of the most important things for all insurance companies to focus on in 2021. Technology plays a huge role in improving the customer experience by adapting to new ways customers prefer to interact. Furthermore, it enables client-facing capabilities to improve data access and decision-making. It also means using technology to better internal processes, and accommodating for the lack of social cohesiveness that’s not as present in a digital work environment.
Mehra mentions the importance of insurance companies understanding their strengths and addressing their weaknesses at this time. Insurance companies need to become experts on the products and services they provide and then collaborate with insurtechs to ultimately build first-class products, services, and partnerships.
Reshape products and services
Adapting current offerings to fit the new situation is high on the agenda. Understanding how work from home affects the products and their usage to then modify and update product portfolios. The speakers also mention that now is high time for trying out new technologies, whether in adjusting those product offerings and services or testing sophisticated technologies such as drones and other things that would’ve seemed too risky a year ago.
Invest in employees
Finally, investing in their employees’ education, personal development, and mental health is crucial for both their colleagues’ and the companies’ well-being. Whether that’s through online courses, digital team-building exercises, or even the aforementioned water cooler discussions, they all agree on the condition of their workforce to be more important than ever.
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3. How are customer expectations changing, and what should insurance companies focus on?
Customer expectations were already going through a massive shift before the pandemic. Due to COVID-19, they have now been significantly speeding up and quickly gone from nice-to-have to need-to-have. It’s also clear that some of them haven’t been as anticipated. Find some interesting statistics from Brune de Linares, Chief of Sales, and Félix d’Alançon, Head of Partnerships at AKUR8, below.
Here are three big changes in customer expectations:
As Genoveva Pérez Lijó, Head of Global Customer Segments at Allianz Partners, puts it, “What customers want now is everything related to digitalization: they want it fast, now, simply and transparently, highly personalized and tailored to their needs, at the specific moment they want it.”
So, if you’re currently not digital, it should be added to the top of your list of priorities. So, if you’re currently not digital, it should definitely be one of your main priorities.
The human element
“Is everything digital always good?” and “are humans complements to digital or the other way around?” – the latter seems to be the way to go. Experts believe that the digital acceleration will continue, but not to the extent that it might be heading towards today. Therefore, the human touch will always be a necessary point when it comes to the customer experience. Having an omnichannel strategy that allows customers to interact with insurance companies the way they want, reaching them anywhere, at any time, is vital.
Social and corporate responsibility
Sustainability and corporate responsibility will play a bigger role in the total customer experience. Consumers will be unforgiving for brands’ actions, and it will be necessary for them to rectify them as well.
Due to the increase in both data and data regulation, insurers’ responsibility in handling data has never been as important and as scrutinized. Keeping it under the line of where creepiness begins and benefits end is a balancing act that many insurers might struggle with if not approached correctly.
What should insurance companies do to cater to these rapidly changing expectations? And, what types of engagements are essential to thrive in these consumer circumstances? The answers follow below.
Create an emotional connection with the brand
Creating an emotional connection with the brand is on top of the list. Engaging with customers through all distribution channels, especially social media, plays vast importance. Creating a deep personal connection with the customer, empathy and understanding will set insurers apart from competitors.
Adapt and improve
Quickly adapting and providing timely services and products while constantly improving them is essential. Insurers need to be able to offer customers exactly what they want, exactly when they need it. While there’s no magic formula for customers, obtaining better technology will allow insurance companies to tread that fine line of building capacity and filling it whatever way customers want. It also enables personalization at scale, which drastically brings down the cost of production and distribution. If insurers can provide services surrounding that, such as loss prevention, they’ll become truly differentiated in the market.
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4. Most innovative insurance companies in the world
During the Global Insurtech Summit, the following companies were recognized as the most innovative, so keep an eye on them:
Alan is the first digital health insurance company in Europe. They revolutionize health insurance by focusing on user experience while providing excellent price-quality ratio health plans. The company is based in France and has been a digital-native player since its foundation.
There’s a huge segment of the population that lacks health services and health care due to high costs and income inequality. This is where Oscar Health comes in. They emphasize finding affordable health insurance for policyholders. They also offer other services such as free primary care visits, drug delivery, and so on.
Ping An is the most innovative financial group in China and one of the largest insurance companies in the world. Their conglomerate includes a range of new companies that evolved from their technology ecosystem. Some of those companies are:
- Lufax – the largest digital wealth management platform in the world.
- Ping An Financial Cloud, offering cloud-based services to financial institutions operating in China.
- Ping An Good Doctor – the largest telemedicine platform in the world.
- Ping An Wanjia Clinic – a clinic enterprise platform supporting about 50% of private clinics in China.
- Ping An Health Connect – providing a range of services, from anti-fraud and over-billing controls to support the State Health Insurance System.
Tenzing Pacific Services is an insurance and financial services agency serving personal and corporate clients alike since 2012. They’re doing some impressive innovations and putting a great effort into creating a complete digital healthcare system. The breadth of services they provide is accessible through mobile devices: telehealth, telemedicine, diagnostics, pharmacy, second opinions, guiding people to navigate through the system.
Tencent’s business units include healthcare, insurance, cloud, AI, diagnostics, and pharmaceutical supply chain solutions. WeDoctor is their biggest online healthcare platform, aiming to build a closed healthcare circuit. Such a circuit involves every aspect of the industry, including patients, physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, and insurers, while leveraging AI technology. The company’s cloud business is open for partner hospitals, clinics, and the government to do data processing, AI diagnosis, etc.
Vitality focuses on a shared insurance business model offering health, life, and car insurance. Fundamentally, motivating their members to live a healthy lifestyle and motivating them to drive better. In both cases, Vitality provides rewards to their customers when they do. It’s a win-win for both policyholders and Vitality themselves as the reward scheme decreases the number of accidents and increases the number of rewards while minimizing risk and improving retention.
Summary and conclusion
The Global Insurtech Summit was an experience that left us with many insights on the drastically changing industry that is insurance, especially the many twists and turns as it looks towards the dawn of a post-COVID future. Thinking back on the exciting event, one thing that’s as clear as ever is the promise that insurance and technology have together.
Building an ecosystem, driving personalization, and giving relevant offers are definitely important elements of success. At Cloud Insurance, we have the features out-of-box to make your digital transition easy, timely, and smooth. Learn more about us here>>.