Duck Creek Blog
Blog Post

Defining Humanized Insurance Technology

May 10, 2023
Authors: Luis Amadeo, SVP Product Strategy & Innovation and Nick Lien, VP Product Management

In the blog Humanized Experiences are the Key, Jess Keeney, Duck Creek’s Chief Product & Technology Officer, discusses how humanized experiences can serve as the guiding light for insurance to successfully transform digitally and serve its core purpose of protecting people. Customer experiences that are empathetic, for insurer employees, producers, and policyholders, and experiences that connect people with higher levels of engagement will enable the insurance industry to focus on trust, yielding greater positive outcomes for all.

If you are an insurer or a solution provider, you may wonder how you can create and deliver such experiences for your customers. If you are a policyholder or a broker, you may be wondering how different the experiences with your insurance carriers will be.

As an insurance technology solutions provider, Duck Creek Technologies has been evolving its technology over the years to meet the vision of continuously transforming insurance technology to enable insurers to be more efficient at providing the best protection for people and businesses. This transformation is a journey, and even though Duck Creek has already achieved some incredible technological shifts, it is now entering a new phase of transformation: enabling insurers to provide humanized insurance experiences through the use of humanized insurance technology.

Our journey to humanized insurance technology

Insurance technology is evolving for the greater good of protection through the research and development of humanized insurance technology, but this is not a new transformational journey. In fact, Duck Creek started this journey many years ago.

Humanized insurance technology enables people to connect with each other through the insurance lifecycle, in real-time, through channels that are highly personalized. These connected experiences empower people with insights and productivity. Insights such as specifics about an individual or persona, contextual data about risks and opportunities, knowing when critical events occur, and elevated levels of automation can be the difference between a superior customer protection experience and an aggravating one.

At the end of the day, to focus on protecting the policyholder, the full focus should be on the experiences that people encounter during the lifecycle of insurance from the moment a risk is protected to the moment a loss is paid. Focusing on all the personas involved in this lifecycle, and streamlining all the processes, workflows, and actions that take place, with a focus on empathy and service excellence, is the humanized experience way.

To enable insurers to achieve this, Duck Creek has been evolving its architecture over the years, starting with two fundamental technological milestones that have set the stage for the current technological journey: low code and the cloud.

Low code

The industry started this journey over two decades ago with its first technological milestone: a platform that provides low-code configurability and enables insurers to design, create, and deliver insurance products with superior levels of productivity. This was an important first foundational milestone developed by Duck Creek. It gives the power to the insurance subject matter experts at the insurance carrier to design and define products without the need to know how to program code.

The flexibility and agility provided by low-code configurability, the express user interface technology, the powerful Duck Creek Platform API, along with product inheritance and single-point-of-change capabilities, have enabled insurers of all sizes to define insurance products and to provide experiences that range from fully automated to high-touch service across various insurance lifecycle touch points. Having this adaptability for fine-tuning the product offering and the product experiences – with higher productivity – is essential to ensure that insurers can control the desired end-customer experience.

See also: Listen to our podcast where our co-founder describes the early days of building a low-code rating solution.

The cloud

The second foundational milestone for this journey was to enable insurers to grow their business and innovate at scale by moving to the cloud and delivering core systems via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. This is Duck Creek OnDemand; a SaaS model that enables insurers to define and deploy insurance products and scale with less IT operational effort.

Using Duck Creek OnDemand, insurers free up resources to focus on evolving and running their business.

Yet, cloud scalability is not enough to enable insurers to innovate and grow more efficiently. There are other key foundational pieces to the puzzle, namely:

  • The ability to continuously improve insurance products with new features and enhancements
  • The necessity to enhance policyholder and producer experiences
  • The requirement to perform updates of security patches and resolved items delivered by Duck Creek without having to do expensive software upgrade projects.

Collectively, this enables insurance products designed by insurers to improve much faster, enabling industry innovations to help them create insurance workflows and experiences with less effort over time. This is what Duck Creek calls the active delivery model. Through low-code configurability, cloud-based product offerings, and the power of active delivery, Duck Creek’s customers have the capabilities they need to accelerate their speed to market efforts and efficiently run their insurance businesses.

With all of these innovations at the fingertips of insurers, there is still more that has to be done to enable insurers to reimagine the future of humanized insurance for all. The property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry must move to the next phase of its technological evolution, delivering the humanized insurance technology capabilities that enable carriers to provide unique experiences for carrier employees, producers, brokers, and policyholders.

The four pillars of humanized insurance technology

To ensure that the P&C insurance industry continuously evolves to fully become human-focused, Duck Creek’s Product and Technology organization has defined four strategic pillars to deliver on this vision.

People-centric experiences

People-centric experiences mean that insurance company employees, producers, brokers, and policyholders can contribute to and experience the insurance lifecycle through personalized, inclusive, and omnichannel experiences.

We have started this journey with the research and development of a mature design system that yields a localizable, accessible, and standard user experience across the entire suite and across all insurance personas.

By incorporating this system into our Express 3 user interface technology and our product configuration tools, Duck Creek delivers a consistent and standards-based user experience (UX) across the entire suite that insurers can build upon.

This ensures that Duck Creek and insurers can offer a holistic suite experience—products can interact via standard interfaces where all users and personas can experience the insurance lifecycle as a single, unified, and connected digital experience.

To that end, our people-centric experiences are:

  • Personalized — with views and workflows by persona, line of business, and region so that insurers can delight their internal and external users and reach higher levels of engagement
  • Connected — with experiences across the suite offerings that increase user productivity by notifying or automating the next best actions in near real-time
  • Inclusive and accessible — for any person regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and disability so that our customers and partners can attract and retain the insured.
  • Omni-channel — with experiences that are available on multiple channels and devices so that all users can engage in the insurance lifecycle anywhere and at any time.

Evergreen SaaS

As previously stated, cloud-scale SaaS operational excellence has been a big focus for Duck Creek with advancements that leverage cloud-native technologies and provide updates via active delivery. These technological shifts were not easy to do while migrating and operating insurer tenancies in the cloud, but we have learned and improved along the way. We continue to invest in ways to optimize our SaaS offerings to enable carriers to achieve their cloud transformation goals with minimal operational pain and cost so that they may achieve the economies of scale they deserve.

To that end, we provide operational excellence by delivering an evergreen SaaS suite that is:

  • Elastic through our service-oriented and API-first architecture that can horizontally scale based on demand so that insurers can run insurance products that perform and scale with their business, with less IT personnel
  • Resilient via cloud-based architecture that can heal from failures and disasters so that insurers can meet their insurance product availability service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Evergreen via active delivery so that our customers can have the latest capabilities and up-to-date security protections with an automated, agile flow
  • Serviceable via web-based self-service operational experiences so that carriers and ecosystem partners have transparency into the health of their services, troubleshoot issues, and can test and accept Duck Creek SaaS updates
  • Secure via a hardened, segmented, and highly monitored cloud architecture that is provisioned and updated via Infrastructure-as-code and security-as-code standards
  • Environmentally sustainable using Duck Creek’s multi-tenant and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) capabilities, which leverage the compute and data storage economies of scale, ultimately reducing the insurer’s carbon footprint

Intelligent decisions

New cloud technologies available today that capture, transform, store, and retrieve data are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. This is moving Duck Creek into a new frontier, to enable insurers to make the best-informed decisions and measure the impact of those decisions, with data technologies as the foundation.

To enable insurers to have insights across the full lifecycle of their insurance operations, the data technologies must aggregate, curate, and provide insurers with access to all transactional data across all insurance systems. Duck Creek has built a data architecture foundation that enables transactional data from all offerings to flow through a data pipeline that aggregates and curates the cross-domain data sets as data changes occur, enabling the population of data lakes and data warehouses at speed—in some instances, near real-time.

This aggregated data can be ingested into insurers’ downstream data warehouses via APIs or analyzed via analytical dashboards through our cloud-based Duck Creek Insights offering. With access to this data across all Duck Creek offerings, and across all lifecycle state changes, insurers now can understand context and data patterns that inform what is really happening through the insurance lifecycle. This enables measurement of critical KPIs of their business, as needed.

Also, because the architecture of ingesting data changes stems from listening to data changes as they occur via an event-driven architecture, Duck Creek can publish stateful domain changes as events the moment they occur, enabling APIs and features to react to meaningful changes in the lifecycle.

This data architecture, along with the partner ecosystem and low-code platform, enables Duck Creek to deliver solutions that put the right information in front of the people that need to act when the action needs to be taken. This opens the doors to insightful experiences that go beyond dashboards and reports and into a world where insights are embedded into the workflows across all insurance personas, as well as actionable notifications with the right data for people to make intelligent choices wherever they happen to be. These experiences enable human-centric decision making, with data solutions serving people as enablers.

To that end, Duck Creek’s technology enables intelligent decisions by providing:

  • Insightful data experiences that are built from curated cross-suite data so that decision-makers are always aware of risks, opportunities, and next best actions
  • Data APIs that enable insurers to ingest all their data into their downstream ecosystems so they can innovate faster in their total digital transformation
  • Streaming and event-driven data architecture that enables low latency for the availability of aggregated suite data and event signals that can trigger notifications and workflows
  • Partner ecosystem that is large and vast to provide insurers with choices of third-party APIs and services that can augment the intelligence provided via the products

Comprehensive suite

Duck Creek already offers a comprehensive suite of solutions that enable insurers to reimagine and deliver innovative insurance products. This full suite connects their employees to their policyholders and distribution channels via a full range of offerings, including policy, billing, claims, insights, distribution management, reinsurance management, digital engagement, and digital customer service. Duck Creek also offers an incredible partner ecosystem with over 160 solution partner integrations. These solution partners can amplify the insurance suite through third-party insurance tech services that can seamlessly integrate into the suite experience.

Enabling insurers to have a choice in how much to leverage this extensive suite, how much to use from the default Duck Creek out-of-the-box versus how much to configure, and to which geographies to deploy products is fundamental to Duck Creek’s philosophy. We believe that providing insurers with the best default solutions, but also the choice to configure and extend as needed, is a fundamental human-centric principle for innovation.

To that end, our comprehensive technology suite enables:

  • Suite- and standalone-capable offerings — customers can modularize, start small and expand capabilities as they grow while maintaining a unified and seamless user experience across their assets
  • Global offerings with localization capabilities — customers can offer and support insurance products to anyone, regardless of country and international region
  • Purposeful out-of-the-box capabilities — with industry-leading product experiences for P&C lines of businesses (LOBs), LOB Kits, and powerful turnkey partner managed integrations that enable best-in-class insurance products
  • Configurable low-code solutions — customers can adapt to complex business requirements, have a choice of solution partners, and can significantly accelerate their speed to market

But this is not all. You may be wondering why artificial intelligence (AI) is not mentioned as part of our pillars. Indirectly it is in all four pillars of our strategy. We believe AI will change the way we look at various aspects of our technology and how it can best be used to help insurers protect their business and their policyholders. AI can significantly amplify all four pillars of our humanized insurance technology strategy. To deliver on the promise of humanized insurance technology with AI and machine learning, Duck Creek has started the EleaTM Initiative. We will cover this new and exciting topic in our next blog.

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