Making the Jump to a Modern Customer Experience
Modernizing your processes can be daunting, and it isn’t helped by the feeling that it’s a necessity as that only adds pressure to the whole experience. The reality is that you can make the changes needed without the pressure, huge expense or missing a beat. Here are some key tips:
“Integration” is a four-letter-word in the Insurance industry. It brings up thoughts of long IT projects that go over-budget and never quite live up to their promise. Today, Application Programming Interfaces, or “APIs”, allow for easier integrations so new tools can be connected to legacy systems for less money and effort. Many legacy systems do not support connecting to APIs, but there are intermediate solutions that can help bridge this gap, allowing carriers to take advantage of new tools even when their core systems may seem stuck. We have seen carriers get up and running with our APIs in just a few short weeks, with one even finishing in half the time they allotted.
It's Not “All or Nothing”
The past approach was often to have to do everything or nothing – and the scale of what needed to be done often meant the choice was to do nothing because of how daunting the work was. Today, there are flexible solutions to allow for pilots, trials and lab-like approaches to innovating so you can see what works and how best to move ahead before facing major investments. The biggest enabler of this is the movement from installed software to software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivered through the cloud. This has allowed carriers to pick a group of users to try things out without having to install anything, integrate anything or commit for long periods of time before knowing what would work best. Through these more flexible approaches, you may discover easier solutions than you initially thought existed.
Don’t Reinvent Existing Workarounds
One thing the Insurance industry has done well is develop solutions for process problems and system constraints that keep the ball rolling. These workarounds become the norm for many of us as we do our job every day. When we look to modernize, we often bring these workarounds with us, looking for new tools to replicate the band-aid-type solutions we’ve had to put in place over the years. A better approach is to free your mind from the current way you work and think instead about what you are trying to achieve through your processes and tools. For example, today you may have to manually upload emails into your core system so you have all relevant communication in the claim or risk record. Rather than looking for a way to manually upload them in a new solution, look instead for a way to have all relevant communication accessible in the record.
Listen to Your People – Inside and Out
The best way to figure out what you need to do starts with your people, both those within your organization and those outside that you work with. Hear from your employees first-hand about what they need to do their job better. Ask customers what they wished they could do with you. Check with your partners and vendors on how they could interact with and support you better. That is, don’t have the smartest people in the room try to solve everything alone. Bring in perspectives all around you and you will create a more cohesive solution that will evolve as your needs – and your customers’ and partners’ needs – evolve.