The move towards the cloud has seen insurers rethink their approach to not only solution development but also policy administration. Increasingly, ‘as a service’ is becoming pervasive in the industry. Claudette Steynberg, product manager at SilverBridge, takes a closer look.
“Despite initial scepticism around the benefits (and longevity) of the cloud, insurers the world over are seeing the benefits of transitioning – cost-savings, being less reliant on physical infrastructure, speed to market, the list goes on. An integral part of this entails analysing data effectively to make informed business decisions. As a result, an insurer can optimise service delivery including the effective management of policies,” she says.
Being more agile
One of the most significant advantages of being on the cloud, is how it empowers the insurer to more rapidly deploy solutions. Having access to data across devices, irrespective of physical location, means the insurer can leverage its agents in the field far more effectively by providing them with the most up-to-date information regarding pricing, policies, and the like. In turn, the agents can get a more accurate feel for their customers as the data they capture can help inform future solution development.
“Customer expectations in the digital world are all about instant gratification and on-demand experiences. Thanks to the connected nature of our lives, people are more aware of competitive solutions and have become less brand loyal. They are as likely to move to a competitor because of a pricing differential as they are to stay with their current insurer if a good value-add is provided. This places the insurer under tremendous pressure to continually innovate and find more effective and efficient ways to administer policies.”
Using policy administration systems in the cloud, or across a hybrid public-private cloud model, is a way to drive this competitive advantage. It provides the insurer with a degree of agility that would not have been possible when using purely on-premise solutions.
“Of course, this is where access to accurate data comes in. By being able to integrate data from numerous input channels (think social media, agents in the field, contact centres, and so on), analyse it for trends and behaviour, and applying those learnings to policy development and administration, an insurer can be quicker to respond to market conditions.”
Policy administration as a service might not be touted as much as it should, but being able to simplify insurance systems with flexible, rules-based administration can make a significant difference to the business bottom-line.
For example, we completed an implementation at a Zimbabwean insurer migrating its individual life and group businesses to a cloud platform. Doing so provided staff with the ability to access critical information irrespective of their physical locations and saved the insurer on infrastructure costs and software upgrades as the platform scales according to its growth needs.
“Aside from the business benefits, using a cloud-based solution also provides the insurer with a single view of the risk exposure of its clients. Being able to access all the information of one client in a central (online) repository makes for more effective operations.”