In this article, Andy How, Senior Sales Director, UK & Ireland, talks about some of the challenges facing regional insurers and their distribution partners, and why many are turning to composable technology strategies to stay fleet-of-foot, flexible and operationally resilient
In today’s uncertain economic environment – with interest rates creeping up, spiraling inflation and the cost of household living increasingly impacting consumers – the most successful insurance businesses and their distribution partners will undoubtedly be those who listen to their customers and respond decisively and quickly to stay relevant and retain market share.
This is so important at a time when consumers need simple, transparent and easy-to-access products that benefit their day to day lives. The challenge for insurers, MGAs, brokers and other valuable distribution partners is to change the mindset of many indifferent or undecided customers by delivering a positive experience and better outcomes.
In particular, providers must have a good understanding of which products their customers actually want and need – relevance is critical – and that those products and services are rolled out quickly and efficiently, and be easily accessible with the minimum of fuss and duplicative process. What we see all too often, however, is a disconnect and lack of effective data flow between insurer and broker systems which hinders this process.
Many companies are still grappling with outdated legacy systems and are yet to fully embrace digitalisation to keep pace with their customers’ changing lifestyles and increasingly tailored needs. Agility, adaptability and speed to market are no longer differentiators – they have become a must for all insurance providers at a time where consumers are increasingly embracing digital and consider multi-channel interactions and faster transaction processing to be the norm, not the exception.
Technology must be an enabler, not a hindrance
Using digital technologies as a key enabler to drive innovation and customer service helps insurers to get closer to their customer while also delivering operational efficiencies. Papering over the cracks of legacy systems, however, simply cannot deliver the types of customer experience insurers should be aiming for and far too often, we see outdated back-office systems becoming an unwelcome drain and distraction.
It is hard for any company to transform and innovate when they are weighed down by legacy systems that cannot easily flex or scale at pace, and where data is often siloed, inaccessible or out of date. Changing fragmented systems is slow, expensive and you cannot pivot fast enough. For modern insurers that require agility, outdated applications no longer meet the needs of continuously evolving businesses and their customers.
Customer experience and technology strategies need to be planned and executed hand in hand. There is so much data at insurers’ fingertips about their customers and their desired experience but taking advantage of this without using modern core systems is an almost impossible task.
Composable technology: value-add and flexibility
The answer to this daunting challenge lies with establishing composable business and technology strategies; including a flexible business architecture that delivers greater agility through modularity. Businesses that embrace such a strategy are able to adapt rapidly to changing conditions by leveraging reconfigurable and interchangeable technology components best suited to fluctuating, real-time challenges.
Overhauling a company’s entire IT system is slow, expensive and a huge strain on resources and the composable model reduces costs because it relies on more focused IT interventions – allowing companies to combine and recombine solutions whenever they need to. By building a modular structure – designed to evolve fast and adapt – this approach allows for rapid response to changes in the market. Using cloud, APIs (Application Programming Interface) and analytics, it brings a cutting edge, pluggable and scalable solution that frees companies from the shackles of rigid legacy system constraints and costs.
In the current economic environment where budgets and costs are being challenged across the board, insurers must embrace change with technology platforms that allow them to instantly respond to the demands of their customers. Those that dither will not succeed and composable technology provides the means and flexibility to build core business processes to maximise value, improve operational efficiency and gain an advantage in a highly competitive market.
Our practical guide to accelerating speed to market offers advice on how establishing new cloud-based operating models can help UK regional insurers respond rapidly to changes in strategy and the need for portfolio remediation by delivering products at scale across all lines of business.
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