Re-imagining the insurance landscape
By Sedick Isaacs, Head Business Support Services at Bryte Insurance
The global insurance industry appears to be behind the curve in terms of digital innovation and continuous development. The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly the most influential catalyst of change, compelling insurers to revisit the world of virtual services. Merely persisting with something because it has been profitable or ‘good enough’, is an antiquated approach for a future disrupted, not by a competitor, but by a silent and invisible threat. In this context, technological advancements adds value to every facet of socio-economics.
COVID-19 has driven expediency in innovation and enhanced the attractiveness of end-to-end automation and integration as businesses endeavour to address:
- Shifting needs
- Unforeseen exposures
- Preserve livelihoods
- Sustainably support communities, customers and the economy
Tailored-made solutions for the new-age customer
For any business to thrive, it must walk in the proverbial shoes of its customers to understand concerns, needs, wants and constraints. It must also have an in-depth understanding of the market in which it operates – as well as the corresponding demand for the proposed product and/or service offering.
The new-age customer will prioritise affordability but in relation to value and the relevance of the product or service. To retain and attract more customers, future-forward insurers must rethink pricing methodologies aligned to this understanding.
In an era where a brand’s reputational and financial health is substantially impacted by the customer experience, individual attention and compassion, relevance of product/service, value and ease of process converge into the full package. Today, almost any business can offer the same product or service as yours. So, to be competitive you have to also adopt the most cohesive and appropriate customer experience approach.
Resurgence of a digital broker
This is a critical question in an industry that continues to evolve in so many different ways. The following key considerations must always be kept top of mind; one – the customer needs, and two – changing dynamics of the world. Our risk environment is by no means predictable, the recent course of events being a stark reminder of this. Dealing with intricate risks (and some very specific to a certain business/industry/sector), naturally demands multi-layered solutions which requires diverse expertise – from risk engineers to niche underwriters to brokers.
In a world that is migrating to varying digital platforms - with online transactions and engagement a preference for a growing audience - one might expect that there will be a resurgence of the digital broker. To be on the front foot, brokers must:
- Be acutely aware of what customers require
- Meet changing expectations in a virtual environment
- Reinvent themselves in meaningful ways
- Provide access to integrated systems from product enquiry to point of sale, and all the way through to claims and settlements
- Partner with the right experts
The rise of a future-fit insurer
Much like brokers, insurers need to lead with (and in some instances, even establish) the latest trends, aligned to current and anticipated customer needs. A future-fit insurer is one that:
- Is innovative in addressing the needs of diverse customers
- Understands dynamic business environments
- Responds to evolving risk landscapes
- Chooses the best aligned partners to navigate both chartered and unchartered territories
Equally, insurers must remove complex and dated business processes. They must also be adept at:
- Supporting across multiple access channels
- Remaining agile and responding without delay
- Technology, ensuring they continue to be digitally charged
- Maintaining a strict focus on cost efficiencies to offer value and pricing options that will appeal to customers’ needs
- Managing customer expectations and delivering the best quality of service possible
- Collating and extracting value from data to drive strategic decisions around growth, product, talent, etc.
The evolution of product development
Products and services of the future must strike a very difficult balance between optimal solutions for risk management and customer choice (which becomes largely challenging where “usage-based” options are becoming more acceptable). Tailoring solutions rather than attempting to box customers based on archaic algorithms will soon be the only sensible business approach. Those who insist on holding on to irrelevant operational models that have been tried and tested, may sadly stand to lose much in the future.