By Sean Baird, Director of ECM Product Marketing, Nuxeo
Insurance is a more conservative industry than others and it has been relatively slow to embrace digitalisation. But change is coming. A wave of InsurTech firms have shown traditional insurers that it is possible to deliver digital services, while insurance customers are demanding the online customer experience they find in other parts of their lives.
Digitalisation is key to such a customer experience. Recent Nuxeo research showed that European insurance customers are increasingly comfortable with digital interactions and even want to use digital channels more. Many consumers have grown to prefer digital experiences, which means that insurers are under greater pressure to modernise and embark on digital transformation than they have ever been.
For insurers keen to change and adapt to the digital service requirements of their customers, what’s the best approach they should take?
2021 is the year for digital services in insurance
For years consumers have used Amazon and other services that offer a first-class digital experience, and they have come to expect a similar experience elsewhere. This certainly applies to insurance. The recent Nuxeo research showed that insurance customers are increasingly using digital services to manage their insurance policies, with 41% of all subscription requests made over the last 12 months having started via a digital channel.
The most popular online services adopted by policyholders were requests for insurance certificates and supporting documents. These were followed by monitoring of reimbursements, requests for quotes, reporting a claim, and sending photos in the event of a claim. But policyholders’ expectations around digital services went even further.
The most anticipated improvements or new digital services cited in the research were all related to consumers managing insurance services remotely and more autonomously. These included the automatic analysis of photos and videos sent in the event of an accident, the ability to modulate a claim and the ability to make a report or claim directly from a mobile.
The use of digital services in insurance is a trend that has been building steadily for years but it has undoubtedly been accelerated by COVID-19. With very different market conditions brought about by successive lockdowns and subsequent easing, insurers were forced to launch new content-based services that met changing requirements…and they needed to do so quickly and with a distributed workforce.
The importance of content
A common success factor for businesses that have continued to thrive throughout the pandemic was that many of their critical processes were digital. This meant distributed workers could access all the information required remotely, and the absence of on-site evaluations was not a problem. These organisations also benefited from the ability to spin out new applications and services for that content in much quicker time.
Insurers that were lacking in effective digital systems found themselves facing challenges and volatility around the processing of insurance claims, whereas more digitally-focused insurers were much better positioned to quickly adapt to peak demands.
The rise of low-code development tools
This has all helped accelerate the rise of low-code development, especially in the context of content-centric business applications. Low-code enables companies to create and roll out new digital user experiences without having to engage in long development projects. When this approach is applied specifically to content-based applications, insurers can create new content-based services at high speed, critical when meeting the immediate demand for such services.
The idea is to make developers more efficient, by allowing them to re-use existing components and templates to speed up application delivery, drawing on vast libraries of proven constituent software assets. Low-code also lowers the skill requirement bar for other employees to develop applications, such as less experienced developers or even business analysts. It allows IT teams to make smarter and more efficient use of their time and skills, maximising the value of the content they hold and accelerating the delivery of new functionality.
Using a low-code development approach paves the way for insurers to create new content-based services at high speed. Whereas it might have taken up to 12 months to create a new customer experience the traditional way, development teams with access to a low-code development platform can do so within just a few weeks.
The future of insurance
Insurance is only going to become more digital over the ensuing years – customer demand for digital services will ensure that. And content will continue to play a pivotal role supporting insurance business processes. Insurers can make the transition to digital services by embracing low-code development tools, allowing them to launch content-based services at much greater speed.
Insurers that embrace the need for digital transformation can thrive, meeting and exceeding customer requirements, and finding themselves better positioned to take advantage of any future opportunities. But those unwilling or unable to transition to digital services will pay the price, with customers taking their business elsewhere, to insurers that can offer them the digital interactions they need.