How Technology Can Help Across the Insurance Value Chain
How Technology Can Help Across the Insurance Value Chain
According to Charles Robinson, retired vice chairman of Rogers & Gray Insurance, technology has driven more change in the insurance industry over the past 10 years than anything ever did in the previous 30 years.
Some change relates to consumer use of technology—cell phones causing distracted driving, safety technology affecting premiums—but there are also new technologies in use within the industry itself.
Many companies are moving basic transactions and processes to automated systems, but that doesn’t mean the personal touch is going away. Machine learning and chatbots are personalizing the customer experience at deeper levels.
Big changes are happening, and they’re just the beginning.
Technology in Customer Relationship Management
Consumers interact with corporations via technology on a daily basis. Machine learning powers much of this technology, allowing consumers to experience personalized services at an unprecedented level of detail.
These experiences lead insurance subscribers to expect a similar level of personalization. Insurance companies are using several technologies to deliver this with increasing regularity.
Across many industries, personalization is proving to be one of the most significant technology-driven customer service trends. Machine learning has allowed companies to develop automated chatbots that can answer customer questions, provide advice, and direct people to appropriate departments.
Progressive Insurance offers a good example. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and automated quoting, the company has created a chatbot for their well-known customer service persona, “Flo.” Flo communicates with customers over Facebook Messenger, starting the quoting process and passing the customer on to real representatives when appropriate.
Insurers are seeing major advantages with this kind of social media-based chatbot technology. It lets them reach customers who are considering buying a policy but have not yet visited an insurer’s website. Insurance companies gain an edge when they are able to capture these customers.
Today’s consumers are used to being well-informed. More than ever, they are contacting insurance companies to get information about their policies. Company representatives need to have that information readily available, and they are relying increasingly on secure and cloud-enabled insurance CRM software.
Insurance CRM programs let insurers access customer information from anywhere and send that information to colleagues in the field. Customers can receive the answers they need when they need them without the inconvenience of hearing “Let me get back to you when I’m at my desk.”
Technology in Underwriting
Underwriting is one of the most time-consuming processes in the insurance industry. Sometimes it involves an expert’s ability to consider special circumstances and develop original solutions.
Many more insurance underwriting situations, however, are straightforward applications of existing rules. Until now, they have still required the attention of a human underwriter. Technology is changing all of that.
Automated underwriting software can now process straightforward applications and integrate the results within the broader company system. When this software can communicate with CRM, billing, and claims management, it leaves more employees free to provide personal customer attention and process more complex applications and claims.
Technology in Claims Management
Automation improves the efficiency of claims processing as well. The hottest new technology in this space is the smart contract, a piece of software that scans for specified transactions and executes an associated action when it finds one.
Smart contracts utilize blockchain technology—the same kind of technology used in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Blockchain allows for the transfer but not the duplication of digital information. It supports safe digital transactions and automated payments, which in the insurance industry translates to safer and more efficient claims processing.
For example, if an auto insurance subscriber submitted a claim for an accident, the blockchain would be able to verify that the claim is not a duplicate or otherwise fraudulent. (According to the FBI, fraudulent claims make up five to ten percent of all claims, costing insurers more than $40 billion annually.)
Blockchain technology has possible applications across multiple forms of insurance. They include:
- Issuing benefits to life insurance beneficiaries upon notification of the insured’s passing
- Using reliable data to evaluate damage claims and calculate payouts
- Calculating fault in property or auto claims using objective information rather than human judgment
Blockchain has built-in accountability, making it ideal for insurance use. Because multiple people can view but not alter customer and claim information, the processes involved in claims management can happen without any risk to privacy.
Technology in Billing
Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize billing as well. Electronic billing has traditionally been plagued by privacy concerns and the need for third-party processors, but blockchain makes those worries obsolete. The technology’s inherent security provides customers with a way to receive and pay billing statements safely.
Other technologies, including automation and AI, are making billing more accurate and reliable. In health insurance, for example, computer-assisted coding is helping to reduce errors that otherwise cost the industry approximately $750 billion per year.
AI can extract relevant data from patient files and use it to code for services, significantly reducing both the margin of error and the amount of time spent on manual coding.
Potential applications of computer-assisted coding exist across the insurance industry. So do possibilities for automated billing, which offers similar benefits to accuracy and time efficiency.
Looking Ahead: The Future of Insurance Value Chain Technology
Tools such as chatbots, cloud-based CRM software, and automated underwriting have already changed the insurance industry dramatically. Every step of the process from underwriting to claims management has become more reliable and more efficient. But no matter how much of this advanced technology you’ve had the chance to use, you most likely haven’t seen half of what’s coming down the pipeline.
AI and machine learning are still in their early stages. Their potential to revolutionize the way you communicate with customers and colleagues continues to build. You’ll want to find software that can help you keep pace with the newest developments.
CHSI Connections has the software you need to bring your company to the cutting edge and keep you there. We offer cloud-based solutions incorporating advanced technologies that touch on all aspects of the insurance value chain, and we’re always looking ahead to the next big thing. Check us out today and find out how CHSI can change the way you do business.