A Two-Pronged Approach to Overcome Challenges in the Insurance Industry
I have been working as an IT professional in the insurance industry for the last couple of decades. During this time, I’ve witness this industry reeling under pressure from all quarters. There are regulatory pressures, uncertainties related to the new government making changes to the tax system, low interest rates pressurizing investment income and a very slow recovery in the economy.
Apart from these challenges, insurance companies are also faced with rising customer expectations and stiffening competition. Against this backdrop, our company decided to have weekly meetings focused on ways to improve its top and bottom line growth. While we needed to experiment with new products and services to meet the expectations of our most discerning customers, we also recognized the need to have stringent cost-cutting goals.
What my company needed was a two-pronged approach — to grow revenues, while simultaneously lowering costs. After several months of deliberation, we decided to rely on two approaches to enable us to achieve this extremely difficult objective.
Approach 1: Increased Focus on Automation
The 2017 Insurance Outlook report by Deloitte says that tech modernization is key to overcome challenges and drive efficiency and growth in the insurance industry. Hence, we decided to implement Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
RPA belongs to a new genre of automation technologies that has opened up significant opportunities for cost cutting and achieving operational efficiency. Essentially RPA identifies and automates highly repetitive tasks and processes.
RPA can free up as high as 30% capacity in a company, while also minimizing operational risk and improving customer experience. Therefore, this aligned well with our two-pronged approach. Experts from AutomateWork helped us identify all the activities that were highly time consuming, inconsistent and error-prone. For instance, we had been relying on manual inputs of data, that too from different sources and in various formats (both paper and electronic). We were also using different applications and software to manage different operations.
The experts then helped us develop a strategy and create a roadmap for the implementation of RPA and even set up productivity metrics and RoI models to enable us to monitor the extent of the benefits.
Approach 2: Increased Focus on People
Apart from implementing RPA, we’re also more conscious about training needs in our company. A report titled Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement in Insurance by McKinsey & Company highlights the importance of people management in service industries, especially complex ones such as insurance. The report says that high-performing organizations actively engage in activities such as observing the work that is being done, providing timely feedback and engaging in one-on-one coaching. This is another area that we are highly focused on now.
It’s only been a few months since our transition to RPA and our focus on people management. We can already see some advantages, with improved operational efficiency being at the top. And, due to the improved operational efficiency, we are now able to service more clients than before. Our claims processing has improved significantly. We’re highly bullish about being able to increase our customer base by providing better customer experience.