A quote in the event brochure did a great job for setting the expectations of the day.

Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anyone can talk meaningfully about one without talking about the other. 

Bill Gates

This and the list of speakers promised some interesting content and the event did not disappoint. Although many of the messages were not new, the fact that they still need to be made underlines that there is still a long way to go before the Insurance Industry can truly claim to be championing innovation.

Here are some of the key messages that I took from the day:

  1. Leadership and company culture need to lead the technical revolution

    “Nothing changes if nothing changes”

    • Convince the board. Leaders have to recognise the need to change and agree the change road map. The business case needs to grab attention and make clear business sense. Needs to show change will:
      • Attract more customers and keep them longer.
      • Allow insight driven agility for pricing innovation.
      • Reduce loss ratio by improved risk management.
    • Overcome internal barriers. Significant internal barriers that need addressing from the top:
      • Organisational silos.
      • Under investment.
      • Legacy baggage.
      • Resistance to change.
  2. Look at your business from a customer perspective

    Customer experience is subjective and it is the customer perspective that matters.

    REMEMBER: 96% of unhappy customers do not complain but 92% leave.

    • Process design. Make the whole process effortless for your customer.
    • Build trust. The Insurance Industry has trust issues. These can only be resolved by being completely transparent and delivering the service promise. Ensure you have the right resource in the right place at the right time to deliver the expected service. Eliminate inefficiencies.
    • Understand your customer. Move away from data silos to a single customer view.
    • Identify priorities. Remember the real test of an Insurer is when things go wrong for the customer, when they are emotionally fragile. This is when they claim or have to make a change to the policy. There are only a few customer touch points so they need to count. Staff need the right information at their fingertips.
    • Learn from others. Look outside financial services for inspiration.
  3. Technology is changing how we work play and rest
    • Wake up. Insurers were warned against complacency. Those that do not adapt will become irrelevant.
    • Speed up. The digital revolution is not just happening, but at pace and scale. The external pace of change is far outstripping the internal change within the Insurance industry. Digital was defined as the continual adoption of new technologies.
    • Be better. Digital can deliver cheaper, smarter, faster and should only be done if it is ultimately better.
    • Embrace the flexibility. Technology allows you to get something to market quickly then improve and learn. Don’t spend too much time on research – the only way to find out what works is to take action.
    • Don’t be afraid of failure. Not everything works, but decide quickly and move on.
  4. Learn to Walk before you can run
    • Don’t get side tracked. Exciting technologies are available that could revolutionise Insurance for example the Qualified-Self. Date could become available on aspects of a person’s daily life which would fundamentally impact insurance risk. Wearable sensors could monitor such things as food intake; mood and physical or mental performance. The strong message was that the industry needs to get the basics right first. Have a road map and stick to it.
    • Meet customer expectations. Consumers use sophisticated technology at home and expect the same from their Financial Service providers. They are often sadly disappointed. For example, basic expectations include mobile interaction and many Insurers do not even have a mobile strategy. Great quote “Work – that brief period during my day when I still have to use old technology”.
    • Mitigate risk. It is easy to burn huge budgets on new technology, so consideration should be given to changing by segment rather than big bang. It comes down to flexibility and agility to ensure change is at an agreed and understood risk to business as usual.

In conclusion, the Insurance Industry has a huge opportunity. Success will depend on Leaders who are not afraid to move their companies outside the comfort zone and try something that may seem scary.

At the moment there is safety in numbers so generally there is little difference in approach amongst the major players in the Industry. The future should not be replicating old processes with new technology.

Championing innovation can deliver better customer engagement; reduce costs and drive profitable growth.