To attract, retain and profitably serve consumers, personal lines insurers are increasing their investment in portals, business intelligence and core systems upgrades or replacements, according to “Business and Technology Trends: Personal Lines,” a report from Novarica. Mobile apps and websites also are increasingly viewed as “table stakes,” Novarica said.

Agent and customer portals offer crucial elements of customer service, and business intelligence and analytics are viewed as important competitive capabilities. Core systems investments continue to be critical in improving speed to market and product flexibility, Novarica said.

 

For agent portals, priorities include:

New business and policy change submission

Online policy access to document, such as policies, certificates, invoices and correspondence

Upload/download agency management system connectivity.

 

For consumer portals, priorities include:

Direct-to-consumer online capabilities, such as rate, quote, issue, to attract new business

Self-service capabilities, such as online policy access, access to proof of insurance, online bill pay, to increase retention of tech savvy customers

Enabling policyholders to interact through mobile applications.

 

For distribution management, priorities include:

Streamlining compliance activities

Flexible commission structures

Flexible payment mechanisms, from EFT and ACH to sweep accounts

Managing complex hierarchies of multiple distribution channels.

 

For business intelligence, priorities include:

The ability to leverage third-party data to support marketing programs, underwriting, claims, actuarial and analytics activities

Data analysis tools to help data scientists develop predictive models, and tools that enable business end users to navigate and understand the data

Incorporating decision tools into operational processes.

 

For core systems replacement and enhancement, priorities include:

Consistent application of underwriting guidelines through business rules and predictive models

Speed to market for new products, and maintenance of ongoing products

Increasing the efficiency and consistency of the underwriting process through workflows, automatic task generation and integration of third-party data sources to improve accuracy and speed.

 

Billing, CRM, distribution management and specialized components were found to be lower priorities; those projects were found to be primarily enhancements rather than transformational in nature.

Novarica said personal lines are characterized by high-transaction volumes and increasing levels of direct consumer and policyholder interactions; intense price competition; high levels of advertising spending, particularly on the part of direct response companies; and slow growth.

The report also includes an overview of business and technology issues, marketplace data and 45 examples of recent technology investments by personal lines insurers.

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