When it comes to technology, the insurance industry operated under the premise, “If you build it, they will come.” But when technology platforms are built but not adopted, then what?
A group of panelists at Tuesday’s Insured Retirement Institute virtual annual conference gave their views on what the industry must do in order to improve the customer experience and move forward with digital solutions.
“We as an industry need to focus on adoption,” said Dev Ganguly, chief operating officer, Jackson National Life. “How can we leverage things we already built and make sure they actually solve the problems we are talking about?”
Ganguly described three trends with digital solutions in the insurance industry. They are:
- The rise of platforms, which he said “has been fantastic for our industry.” He also praised the move away from what he called “the swivel chair approach” in which advisors and clients had to deal with different carrier technologies. Now many carriers are moving to one platform.
- Data. “We are all data rich,” he said, “but we are all insights poor to a certain extent.” Ganguly called for liberating data from legacy platforms and leveraging it as an important asset.
- More focus on digital interactions than on electronic forms. “For a long time, our focus was on digitizing what was on paper. Now we need to focus on interactions,” he said.
He also called for moving from a competition-based model to a cooperation-based model. He used updating a beneficiary as an example. “We don’t need to get the beneficiary update form differentiated, we just need to get the beneficiary updated.”
The industry is in an “analysis paralysis” in which “we keep having the same way of thinking,” said Barbara Smith, executive director of DTCC. “When do we take that leap that we need to make?”
She noted that it’s easier for carriers to adopt new ways of doing business when it comes to newer products. “But there are huge blocks of older business that no one wants to change.”
Data must be standardized but that doesn’t mean the user experience must be standardized, said Bekka Marrs, head of platform solutions, SIMON Markets. “My wish is to get the data standardized so we could have time to collaborate in interesting ways,” she added.
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents’ association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at Susan.Rupe@innfeedback.com. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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