I’m not sure what’s in your inbox – but mine is flooded with daily reminders, invitations to attend seminars, and offers focused on digital transformation. Lately, the volume of messages from organizations spotlighting their specialty in “digital transformation” has increased. They feature ways digital transformation can impact transaction processing costs and ways it can reduce risk for senior executives with regulators.

Should digital transformation matter to you? The simple answer is: Yes, it is vital that your organization make digital transformation a priority. Organizations that do not adopt a digital transformation strategy will quickly fall behind their competitors that have already embraced digital technology trends. Let’s take a look at why this matters and best practices:

What is Digital Transformation?

“Digital Transformation is the third stage of embracing digital technologies:”4

Digital Competence > Digital Usage > Digital Transformation

“Digital Transformation is when digital usages developed enables innovation and creativity and stimulates significant change within the profession or knowledge domain.” 1 You have to understand and trust technology before you fully adopt it. Only then can you fully use technology and attain the benefits and advantages it promises.

It’s just like the digital transformation that occurred when my mother-in-law realized that the smartphone we gave her was more than a telephone. With her FaceTime and Skype app, she can check on her 5-year-old twin grandsons from several states away. She can now watch their basketball performances or theater debut 1250 miles away. She first became familiar with the technology, used it for its intended purpose, and embraced the technology as a beneficial asset.

Although digital transformation is a popular marketing topic, in the Insurance sector it is a keystone to market share, growth, and profits. Most enterprise software companies have found a way to tie the words “Digital” and “Transformation” into the aforementioned avalanche of marketing information. As technology companies merge and are acquired – the drumbeat around digital transformation seems to increase. However, that does not preclude these software companies from having valuable insight and capabilities. In the hands of the right technology consultant, enterprise software can be used to help accelerate an Insurer’s digital transformation and achieve the rewards that go with it.

What Does This Mean To Insurers And Why Is It Important?

Insurance policyholders use digital technologies at an astonishing rate. When an insurance agency’s sales and product team demand digital improvements to meet policyholder demands – these projects become a high priority. New insurance technology startups use the latest in digital technologies and can quickly gain market share and have an impact on traditional carrier’s profit.

Accenture’s Insurance group cautions, “Stagnant sales, low-interest rates, rising competition, increasing customer expectations, growing regulatory requirements and widespread, technology-driven disruption of key markets, are threatening to significantly erode insurers’ revenues. We estimate that this “perfect storm” of adverse forces could jeopardize 30 to 40 percent of the headline earnings of some traditional insurers by 2020.” 2

A major gap exists between knowing what needs to be done to improve a policyholder’s digital experience and actually delivering a solution to meet that expectation – and that gap is profound. Forrester determined this gap between expectation and meeting policyholder goals ranged between 38 to 60 percent! 3

How Can Digital Transformation Impact Insurers?

It is proposed that performing key digital strategies can drive EBITDA improvements with immediate and significant impact to profit.5

The impact of digital transformation is measurable. You must understand “as-is” process and the costs to implement a digital transformation. A Risk Assessment Business Case is easily developed by a business partner or in combination with your innovation team. With top-line and bottom-line impacts of this size, work with your internal experts and digital transformation partner to develop your plan and business case.

Action Plan for Insurer Digital Transformation

Over the past 17 years, DoxTek has lead the charge in helping customers adopt digital technologies. With hundreds of projects successfully completed, there are many lessons to be learned from our years of experience. DoxTek’s recommended action plan for insurers to enter a digital transformation is as follows:

Remain Agile and Responsive

Keep up with Competition There is vigorous competition from new and more digitally minded entrants in the insurance market. The time spent conducting business wide evaluations and taking 18 months to determine how best to add e-forms and text messaging into your claims processing or customer service systems can bleed out significant earnings.

Team Participation Include cross-functional teams from your organization to evaluate technology options and create a digital transformation roadmap. Involve operations, sales, product management, information technology, compliance, security, finance, and marketing teams to understand your organization’s various needs.

Management Support Executive sponsorship and accountability of the digital transformation process is mandatory. Owning the P&L and owning the solution to the problem go hand in hand.

Timeline The best approach is to perform rapid, incremental changes, to eliminate time-consuming and wasteful manual processes. Continuously measure and report your project successes and goal accomplishments. Deploying a traditional IT project with a massive project scope and without policyholder feedback has too much risk in today’s market.

Staff Retention Leverage your best digital knowledge workers and thinkers – or they will leave. Experience shows that top digital talent is drawn to innovative and industry-leading startups. Traditional insurers must work extra hard to retain and compete for digital transformation experts. Applying agile and progressive methods for your transformation can help retain or recruit needed staff and experts.

Pick Your Battles Carefully

Replace or Enhance Retooling your existing platforms (underwriting, claims adjudication, risk, or estimating) can consume massive amounts of resources. The difference between wholesale replacement and enhancing your current platform can be significant. There will be a great deal of vendor and business pressure to look at completely replacing your system. But, incremental change is necessary during this time of digital triage. If your policyholders expect to have mobile, web, or e-application access, and your current platform doesn’t support these features – there are many cost-effective technologies that can enable these capabilities in just a few weeks.

Multi-Channel Tools Adding multi-channel capabilities to your customer service organization is difficult, but more agile technology and content driven solutions can mitigate cost and save time in this area. When policyholders need immediate, real-time interaction with your customer service department – it is a period of high stress and need. It is these moments that Insurers create loyal policyholders or former policyholders.

Add Capabilities Your proven and trusted underwriting engine works perfect – it just doesn’t ingest multichannel content or applications and requires manual data entry for every application. Leverage technology experts to add that capability to your underwriting system instead of conducting a wholesale replacement.

Don’t Underestimate Policyholder Expectations

Innovate As your digital transformation matures – don’t limit your thinking about change and improvements of your current system. If an important expectation of your policyholders is for you to provide multi-channel access to billing or claim information – don’t just provide access to a static report or PDF document. Mobile, desktop and web clients can now deliver dynamic content and analytics right to your policyholder and their device of choice. Advanced data and analytics bolt-on capabilities can speed up this process and allow you to meet policyholder expectations with your current platforms – as well as with future systems.

Changing Market As traditional policyholders age-out of the market and Millennials enter to expand your customer base – make certain that your methods of surveying satisfaction is consistent with each demographics’ preference. Just because you’ve deployed a mobile application – doesn’t mean that checks off all of your policyholder’s expectations and needs.

Remain Pro-Active and Positive

Stay Informed Adopting new technology and methods for meeting policyholder’s expectations may conflict with corporate and regulatory standards and guidelines. Make certain that your company participates in frequent technology updates and meetings with industry trade, associate, and state groups focused on technology and digital transformation.

Communicate AccomplishmentsNothing makes a stronger statement to your policyholders, employees, and business partners than communicating and recognizing your team’s success and achievement in areas of digital transformation. Pilots around single product solutions and more manageable scopes can show results in a few weeks and have a positive impact. Don’t try to boil the ocean – celebrate each incremental success of your digital transformation.

Pick the Right Partner

Experts An increasing amount of policyholders are not having their expectations being met. As a result, there is a decrease in profit due to shrinking market. Shareholders demand to recover earnings and market share increases. There is a natural tendency to draw upon your current technology mentors and advisors for help. Are these advisors experts in digital transformation? Have they implemented the advanced solutions and technology required to meet policyholder and investor demands?

Partner Well Team with a business partner you trust, that is secure and make certain the partner isn’t for sale or recent target of a merger-acquisition. Then identify an initial project to prove out your enterprise transformation strategy, define success criteria and how you will measure the pilot project, and move quickly.

Alternatives The team that engineered your current platform did their best at the time – but have they crossed the digital divide and do they know how to keep you moving forward? Keep in mind that the technology supporting digital transformation can be added to most existing vendor solutions faster than you can conduct an evaluation, selection, and replacement of current systems.

Contact DoxTek To Learn More

DoxTek has over 17 years of experience helping customers achieve digital transformation. Automating processes, delivering customer-driven data, and enablement of legacy line-of-business systems is how DoxTek thinks and acts. We have proven expertise, solutions, and people that can speed up your digital transformation. Contact DoxTek to learn more!

Tom Simmons - Director of Sales at DoxTek

References

  1. Lankshear, Colin; Knobel, Michele (2008) Digital literacies: concepts, policies and practices. p. 173. ISBN978-1433101694.
  2. Accenture, Berend de Jong  January 3, 2017 – Blog –  Perfect storm threatens to sink insurers’ earnings by nearly 40%
  3. Forrester Research Report for Accenture, Expectations Vs. Experience: The Good, The Bad, The Opportunity , June 2016
  4. Digital transformation. (2017, April 19). Retrieved April 26, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_transformation
  5. DeMaster, B., & Dague, D. (2017, January 10). Smart digital strategies enable insurers to double their earnings. Retrieved April 25,2017, from http://insuranceblog.accenture.com/smart-digital-strategies-enable-insurers-to-double-their-earnings

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