Insurance is a sector that has been comparatively slow to embrace digitalisation. It’s an inherently conservative industry that has worked in mostly the same ways for decades and decades, but change is coming. Customers are increasingly demanding the seamless customer experience they find in other parts of their lives, when they shop, bank, book medical appointments and much more.
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. Consumers have grown to (increasingly) prefer digital experiences, which means that insurers are under greater pressure to modernise and embark on digital transformation than they have ever been.
Why is it so important for insurers to adapt to the digitalisation requirements of their customers, and how should they best go about this?
Changing insurance customer requirements
For many years now, most consumers have used Amazon and other services that offer a first-class digital experience, and they have come to expect this in other areas of life. 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 greater autonomy. 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 services that meet changing requirements…and they needed to do so as soon as possible.
The role of content in digital services
A common success factor for businesses that have continued to thrive throughout the pandemic was that 100% of their critical processes were digital – supported by on-demand, anywhere access to whatever information or content people needed. Not only that: these organisations also benefited from the ability to spin out new applications and services for that content in much quicker time.
Many insurers found themselves facing challenges and volatility around the processing of insurance claims. Historically, gearing up for peak demand would have required advance warning, exceptional resourcing and staff training. Those insurers that could quickly transition to a virtual workforce, on the other hand, giving them secure remote access to all the information they needed, would have been able to fulfil demand spontaneously.
The importance of low-code 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 more junior 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 is undoubtedly digital, 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.
Those that embrace their digital transformation will thrive by providing more competitive digital services; they will also be better positioned to take advantage of future opportunities. Those that do not will find business increasingly challenging as customers take their custom elsewhere, to insurers that can offer them the digital interactions they need.
Sean Baird is Director of ECM Product Marketing at Nuxeo, a provider of content services and digital asset management solutions, helping firms build smart content applications that enhance customer experiences, improve decision making, and accelerate products to market.