Selecting a Future-Proof Technology Solution
Cara McFarlane | May 30, 2017
The insurance industry is experiencing one of the most profound transformations in centuries. During this time of immense change, many insurers are evaluating how best to deliver the right technology solutions to their customers.
Technology is the essential component driving modernization and setting insurers up for a successful future. Debate often falls between either updating current systems or adding new technology—building vs. buying—and if choosing the latter, how to select the right solution.
Over the past five years, new insurtech companies have entered the market and disrupted how people think about and buy insurance, challenging and threatening traditional insurance selling models. Consumers want and expect the same type of technology-enabled interaction with insurers as they enjoy with any other company they do business with.
With the large amount of capital investment and changing customer expectations happening within the industry, success for traditional insurers means initiating change.
When evaluating current in-house technology, many insurers start with the core platform. While this is a great place to begin, I recommend folding content management and imaging systems into that first round evaluation process, because they are critical systems to support digital transformation.
Selecting the right vendor
I outline many technology-vendor selection strategies on a daily basis with prospects and while the number of insurance technology vendors has grown significantly—from large vendors adding new solutions to niche vendors specializing in one segment—my best practices for selecting technology solutions have remained the same:
- Select a technology solution that will deliver results. Know your criteria before contacting vendors. Take a deep dive into the processes you would like to improve, including knowing how long they take today or where bottlenecks thwart progress. Have an idea of what improvements you would like to see and don’t hesitate to ask vendors to speak with referenceable customers who have had similar problems.
- Choose a vendor that sees your relationship as a true partnership. Too often, we hear insurers say they had a great experience with a vendor during the sales process, but then couldn’t get in contact with someone when they actually needed help. When looking for new technology, ask vendors about their ongoing support and how the relationship evolves as your needs grow and change. Look for solution providers who value your relationship throughout different phases of your digital transformation journey.
- Implement solutions that will support future needs. Don’t let your current process problems blind you from looking into technology that will support future growth. To stop software sprawl—adding new solutions you can’t maintain or manage—invest in solutions that can expand and evolve with you. Take a holistic approach to technology implementations and try to envision other areas where a solution may help.
Gaining a complete view to best support customers
Technology transformation and modernization projects are at the top of the checklist for nearly all insurance CIOs. Once you implement best practices for selecting a solution, it is time to consider the technology strategy you want to put in place that will deliver on your needs today and set you up for success in the future.
Core solutions always seem to take the top spot for replacement and modernization projects. But core systems operate for a specific purpose, and while they provide some basic content management and repository functionality, it is limited. By updating content management and imaging systems in tandem, insurers can better integrate and link information, gaining full insight into the content, processes and cases that support their business.
Without the link between these two systems, insurers lose access to critical information and related content—including documents, forms, notes and email—that reside outside the core systems. This leaves the organization without an all-encompassing view of its customer. And we all know how hard it is to meet customers’ expectations and high standards without seeing the whole picture.
Are you seeing your whole customer?
Storing information within disparate systems leads to chaos. When it comes to insurance, customers want easy, streamlined processes. Take claims for example. Many complexities can arise as insurers try to resolve a claim. The longer it takes to come to a resolution, the more costly it is for the organization and less likely it is to achieve high customer satisfaction.
By modernizing content management platforms along with core solutions, insurers see a complete view of their customers, and all the information related to them, without having to jump between screens and systems. In addition, they gain extra functionality, including case management, business process management (BPM), records management and capture on a single platform.
By integrating these capabilities into claims processes, insurers can automate every step, from claim intake through resolution, giving adjusters the full picture of the customer and their claim. This enables them to properly investigate and make a decision. In addition, they gain improved visibility into processes using analytics through workflow reporting, to see real-time updates into the process and where any bottlenecks hinder progress.
Insurers know it is imperative to make technology system updates as soon as possible to ensure they align internal and external processes to customer expectations and remain successful. By keeping the technology selection best practices in mind and coordinating core system and content management system updates, insurance organizations will guarantee they see the full view of their customer, to make the best decisions, provide superior service and future proof their business—remaining successful for years to come.
Cara McFarlane is insurance solutions marketing manager for Hyland Software.
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The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
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