|By Jyoti Bansal||
|February 27, 2017 04:45 AM EST||
Digital Transformation in the Insurance Industry
By Omed Habib
The insurance industry is well aware that digital transformation is coming, even if some CIOs can’t really say what their individual companies will look like at the end of it all. In a survey of thousands of C-level execs around the world, insurance came in among the top five industries that are most likely to see “moderate to massive” digital disruption within the next 12 months. Only 20 percent of business leaders felt that they had the talent they needed to transform the enterprise, though. Here’s a closer look at what’s coming next in the exciting new era of software-defined insurance companies.
The Growth of the Insurance Model
The basic business model of the insurance industry hasn’t changed much since Edward Lloyd opened his coffee shop for seafaring folk in London in 1688. In the decades after Shakespeare passed away, Lloyd’s of London became a hotbed of intelligence on which ships had been seen where, how they fared on the open sea, and how likely they were to come into port with a healthy profit. The management at Lloyd’s created marine underwriting, insuring the riskiest of enterprises at the time.
In the three centuries or so that followed, insurance spread out to cover risk in many aspects of life, but the business model stayed constant. Actuarial experts with specialized knowledge on consumer and business risk assigned fees, and intermediaries made recommendations to customers. Now that era has come to a permanent close.
The web, mobility, and social media have introduced new sources of truth for the modern consumer. Comparison of side-by-side alternatives are instantaneous and comprehensive. Mobile device apps have ratcheted up expectations for insurance services that are autonomous, fast, and simple. In many cases, recommendations from networks of friends and family have replaced the insurance salesperson entirely. Just as web-enabled airline websites devastated the travel agency industry, software-defined insurance companies are sinking the ancient insurance business model.
How Online Insurance Simplified Complexity
One of the earliest software-defined insurance carriers, Esurance, opened its web-based car insurance services in 1999. It solved the problem of the time-consuming quote process that tended to end up with non-comparable policies.
The biggest innovation of Esurance was to break up the policy into components that could be added or removed by the consumer, moving the locus of information control out of the hands of the insurance agent. Many other companies followed, competing on capabilities of their websites. By the time Allstate bought the company in 2011, Esurance was valued at $1 billion.
The next generation of insurance tech transferred greater information control into the hands of the consumer. At the same time, it gave insurance carriers better information to use in assessing risk and establishing premiums. This took the form of:
Mobile apps that allowed simple account management tasks, tracked repair updates, and offered answers on insurance-related questions. These were always-on and available whenever the consumer had time, instead of during business hours.
Greater processing power and big data analysis allowed carriers to crunch more data in less time.
Web-based tracking provided customer data that was funneled to email for lead generation.
More and more, the essential core-value proposition of many insurance companies subtly changed from writing the most accurate policies to offering the most customer-centric brand. Geico became the nation’s number one insurance advertiser, betting $1.18 billion in ad spending on its brand. For Geico and Progressive, this kind of branding has paid off, but others in the same vertical have not seen the same kind of results. The larger carriers have consolidated their market dominance through better tech.
How Insurance Companies Are Becoming More Like Software Companies
In many ways, almost all companies are now considered software companies to some degree. Thanks to software, here are a few of the ways that innovative insurance companies are more agile than ever before:
Policy overview: Most companies have a secure sign-on area of the website or in the app to review policy details. Because of the fluid identity of online viewers, it can prove difficult for companies to definitely identify all the policies of a single individual or family.
Mid-term adjustments: Policies normally don’t change over the coverage period, but sometimes a change is big enough to affect the price. For example, the change of a ZIP Code, or even different streets in the same neighborhood, can change the price of coverage.
Loss notification: Many apps allow customers to begin a claim up to a certain point. This is one of the biggest areas for developers to focus on in terms of responsive AI that can ask the right questions.
Checking claim status: Most insurance companies have a place to check the status of a claim, but it is usually a field that must be updated manually, so it is not always current. Many times, the information isn’t sufficient, prompting a call for clarification. This area deserves more attention for automation and back end integration with other stakeholders in the claims process.
Directory assistance: Some insurance apps add value by providing information tangentially connected to insurance, such as a garage finder for car repairs.
Still, a survey of U.S. policy holders found that only 39 percent said that their insurance providers communicated with them along their preferred channels, such as SMS, email, or mobile apps.
The Next Wave of Insurance Tech
In many ways, mobile devices were merely the first step on the way to the rapid adoption of wearables. It’s no wonder that many insurance companies are already looking for original ways to provide value across the tiny screens of wearables.
According to 2014 survey data by Strategy Meets Action, nearly a quarter of U.S. insurance carriers (22 percent) reported they are already developing a strategy for wearables. Claims assessments, risk management, and data collection for telematics are three of the primary use cases for wearables and other emerging technologies like IoT.
Along those lines, an insurance company recently conducted a test of a Google Glass-type technology for claims adjusters. Video and images of the accident site were transferred directly from the field adjuster to the catastrophe division for faster claims processing. In the future, augmented reality can provide two-way data streams for adjusters in the field and their co-workers at the back end for more accurate decision-making in real time.
New Languages for Insurance
Many people still think of programming for insurance in terms of mainframes, COBOL, and Pascal. While there are legacy IT pieces still out there, insurance today is about enterprise development, mobile apps, and the cloud. In fact, many mainframes are making the complex transition into de facto cloud data centers running the latest Java deployments.
The impact of the modern stack is clear in the fact that Java, Python, and C++ still reign as the top choices for enterprise development in just about every industry. Java has many enemies in the coding world, but it still leads for large-scale deployments. Surprisingly, .NET is another leader, identified as the number one preferred enterprise development platform in a survey by Forrester.
The expanding volume and velocity of data is also creating a need for insurance developers proficient in R, Julia, Hadoop, and Scala.
The Problem with Millennials
At the same time insurance companies are planning ways to make the best use of emerging tech, they are also trying to adapt to the life preferences of the largest purchasing block in the population today.
On the plus side, millennials are more than two times as likely to buy insurance online, according to the latest Gallup polls. Twenty-seven percent of millennials are comfortable with online purchasing, compared to 11 percent for all other generations. Overall, 74 percent of the total population purchased a policy after talking to an agent. Because of the growth of AI chatbots and the availability of streaming video, millennials are likely to possibly do more without agent interaction in the years ahead.
On the negative side, millennials represent the largest number of customers who are actively disengaged (27 percent) or indifferent to (42 percent) their insurance carriers. That’s a recipe for greater churn and engagement wars among insurance carriers. The primary way that carriers are looking to improve that engagement is through better customer experiences.
Gallup suggested that messages related to performance and security appeal to the millennial’s concern for protecting private information. Simplified flow for completing coverage changes was another way that millennials gauge performance.
How Insurance Companies Can Improve The Customer Experience
As more insurance companies adapt to the latest hardware and software, they are discovering a corresponding need for optimization and performance monitoring to deliver on the promise of the technology. Customers have come to expect peak performance, reliable stability, and uptime. This can be especially difficult because many insurance carriers still operate using a mix of legacy and custom development applications.
AppDynamics’ application performance management for the insurance industry is tackling challenges like these head-on, before they put a drag on the customer experience. These systems can’t be productive without careful attention to performance, usability, and availability. To end users, the digital experience of their insurance provider has an effect on their perception of the overall brand.
The post Digital Transformation in the Insurance Industry appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog | AppDynamics.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
Apr. 29, 2017 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,237
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
Apr. 29, 2017 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,560
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Apr. 29, 2017 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,619
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Apr. 29, 2017 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,356
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...
Apr. 29, 2017 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 6,819
Building a cross-cloud operational model can be a daunting task. Per-cloud silos are not the answer, but neither is a fully generic abstraction plane that strips out capabilities unique to a particular provider. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Wolf, VP & Chief Technology Officer, Global Field & Industry at VMware, will discuss how successful organizations approach cloud operations and management, with insights into where operations should be centralized and when it’s best to decentraliz...
Apr. 29, 2017 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,037
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
Apr. 29, 2017 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,330
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Apr. 29, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,638
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
Apr. 29, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 695
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
Apr. 29, 2017 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,795
In recent years, containers have taken the world by storm. Companies of all sizes and industries have realized the massive benefits of containers, such as unprecedented mobility, higher hardware utilization, and increased flexibility and agility; however, many containers today are non-persistent. Containers without persistence miss out on many benefits, and in many cases simply pass the responsibility of persistence onto other infrastructure, adding additional complexity.
Apr. 29, 2017 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,487
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place in November in Silicon Valley, California.
Apr. 29, 2017 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,651
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
Apr. 29, 2017 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,830
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain.
Apr. 29, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,932
Did you know that you can develop for mainframes in Java? Or that the testing and deployment can be automated across mobile to mainframe? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Vaughn Marshall, Sr. Principal Product Owner at CA Technologies, will discuss and demo how increasingly teams are developing with agile methodologies using modern development environments and automating testing and deployments, mobile to mainframe.
Apr. 29, 2017 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,613