The property/casualty industry is facing a number of potentially transformational forces, including increasing competition, consumerization, the number of communications options for both agents and customers, social networking, and an evolving regulatory environment, according to Gartner’s “Hype Cycle for P&C Insurance, 2012.”

There are four major business strategies guiding development and technology expenditures: operational efficiency, customer centricity, claims transformation and underwriting profitability, and the technologies that support these strategies differ. Gartner analyzed what insurers need to focus on within each strategy:

Operational Efficiency

Focusing on operational efficiency requires growing profitability and revenue and reducing operational expenses. For those companies employing this strategy, the guide recommends a more-aggressive approaches to:

• Digitalization

• Replacing legacy systems

• Moving to lower-cost platforms, including business process outsourcing (BPO), business process as a service (BPaaS) and software as a service (SaaS)

• Standardizing and automating business processes

• Consolidating systems

To achieve these objectives, tactics include leveraging cloud computing, customer communications management and electronic document generation/delivery.

 

Customer Centricity

For those insurers embracing customer centricity, the customer's desires and needs are driving product creation, channel investments, process realignment and communication methods, and initiatives would include:

• Consumer-facing mobile access

• Multichannel integration

• Customer intelligence, including a single view of the customer and customer analytics

• Improved e-services

• Improved agent support

• Social media use for marketing and sales

• Enhance the product portfolio

The agent sales force also has evolving needs, including mobile support, improved integration with agency management systems, portal enhancements, collaboration capabilities to support real-time communication between the agent and insurer, and lead management, the guide says.

 

Claims Transformation

Claims transformation strategies are expanding to include claims data mastery, the customer experience in claims, mobile claims personnel support, end-to-end claims processing efficiencies, catastrophe response and fraud identification. The guide recommends focusing on claims data management, proactive loss identification, social data for fraud identification and using predictive modeling for decision support. “Companies are undergoing an entire renovation of claims technologies and processes to meet business objectives, such as operational efficiency and customer satisfaction,” the report says.

 

Underwriting Profitability

Underwriting profitability has been the focus among many P&C insurers, and in personal lines, underwriting automation has been a priority. Commercial and specialty lines insurers are tending to concentrate on case management to facilitate productivity and decision support, and insurers want to expand data use in underwriting to help with modeling and decision accuracy.

The hype cycle is offers insight as to how the technology will affect the industry and its rate of adoption. New additions designed to improve channels, customer interaction, sales relationships and business precision include:

• Agent portals

• Big data

• Customer experience management

• Digitalization

• Gamification

• P&C insurance app store

The guide, which is designed to offer insurers a basis for understanding emerging and existing technologies, prioritizing IT investments and assessing the risks of these technologies, also includes benefits ratings and maturity level assessments for each technology, as well as suggested readings, sample vendors, user advice, position and adoption speed justification.

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