Open workflow, minimal error, good underwriting, and expedient claims closure are a few of the major goals of any insurance organizations. For most insurers, technology plays an important role in achieving these goals. Additionally, large insurers look to technology’s ability to increase productivity, automate routine tasks, and maintain client loyalty though ease of online access and on-demand, self-service options.
However, many small insurers are still behind the learning-curve compared to their upper-tier competitors. Along with outdated technology, or the lack of it, here are a few things that are holding small to medium size insurers back.
The best thing about legacy workflows is that everybody knows them and they are comfortable with them. The worst thing about legacy workflows is that everybody knows them and they are comfortable with them. Sound familiar?
Small insurers that have been around for a decade or three are frequently successful by focusing on their niche client base and keeping their work habits transactional (read: “hands on”). For many small insurer operations, their evolution to new workflows, practices and ways of accomplishing tasks has involved a migration from paper files, faxes and folders to using computers, email and spreadsheets. An improvement to be sure. But even with this improvement quick access to this information is usually conditional of the availability of the insurer’s senior staff member who has the institutional memory to whom the insurer’s workflow and staff members have become dependent. The problem here is that the senior staff member may be nearing retirement, taking that institutional knowledge with him/her.
To be sure, updating this all-too-common type of legacy workflow, or “institutional staff memory,” to newer digital platforms that make information more widely available to staff, doesn’t come without some measure of disruption to workflow processes and resultant resistance by established staff. But experience has shown that once the new technology solutions are implemented, most staff find that their work demands and tasks become easier to handle. In addition, smaller insurers with a digital platform will be more attractive to the incoming innovative workers of the future.
In addition to increased efficiency and ease of operation afforded by this digital platform, the most advanced insurance management software running in the cloud allows insurers to enjoy secure encryption and automatic updates that keep data protected while eradicating the need for cumbersome, costly servers, support staff, or other in-house equipment. Quick access to older data, without compromising security or requiring new equipment, improves customer experience and employee satisfaction.
Let’s face it, manual and duplicative data entry is tedious, time-consuming, and prone to error. Insurance management software, on the other hand, counters these challenges by offering automated data collection. Rules-based underwriting modules were developed to support policy and administration tasks, and include quote creation, audits, renewals, endorsements and other needs. These optimized operations ensure that, no matter which team member is contacted by a client, the client will receive timely and accurate information from a single source of information that houses emails, billing, claims, quotes, reports. and service notes. The key to exceptional service is organization and integration. Breaking down silos of information previously trapped in legacy systems and making all insurance operations (including policy management and customer resource management) available in one platform maintains and improves organizational workflow. Accuracy and efficiency will replace errors and eliminate wasted time.
There is no “downside” to upgrading technology systems in order to improve efficiencies, reduce costs and improve customer service.