According to Shingie Maramba, Business Development Manager at SilverBridge, South African insurers must embrace digital disruption and the associated technologies to remain competitive and provide customers with a more immersive experience.
“Even though digitalisation has been part of boardroom discussions for the past 12 months, 2019 will usher in an exciting new wave of innovation that will cement these imperatives at insurers who want to remain leaders in their segments. Similar to how cloud computing was phased in over a period of time, so too will digital solutions. The difference is that decision-makers will be more aware of the benefits to be had.”
Technology is permeating every aspect of the insurance industry. The days of IT departments being solely responsible for this aspect of business are becoming outdated. Instead, there is a digital mesh that connects all elements of the insurance business. This is not only on the front end that deals with customer-facing solutions but also the back-end that relies heavily on data capturing, analysis, and the ability to draw demonstratable business insights.
“Digital is not a means to an end but the entirety of the operation itself. Stakeholders expect a level of connectivity and data integration that was not possible previously. And they are unforgiving towards those insurers that cannot offer them the accessibility and customisability of solutions and products they expect. It is less about the bells and whistles and more about ensuring customers are satisfied with nuanced offerings catering for their needs.”
Intelligence for all
Even though the cloud is a fundamental element to the digitalisation process, the next step is to leverage the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) to extract value from data faster than before. Many analysts see AI as the next battleground for innovation. Considering how data (and its value) has increased in the past year, this importance becomes evident.
“Insurers are driven by data and its analysis. While employees will also deliver indispensable strategic value, AI can be used to audit, analyse, and assess data from a multitude of input channels and empower users for better decision-making. If anything, AI will enhance the offerings an insurer can deliver to its customer base and enable it to take its business to the next level.”
Building from this improved intelligence will see business design transformed and better geared towards digital disruption.
“This will contribute to the immersive experience customers are so desperately looking for. The traditional ways of process, product, and solution design simply do not meet the needs of the digital environment. Furthermore, people want this to be delivered to them seamlessly on the platforms they use. Access on any device irrespective of location will result in transformed infrastructure that can deliver on expectations.”
The coming 12 months will be incredibly intense from an operational perspective in South Africa. The transition from traditional to digital will start reaching a critical point. Insurers must keep up with this change and take their operations to the next level.