How to keep up with Information Technology trends in the Insurance industry
It usually takes time to embrace new technologies but in the insurance market, this seems not to be the case.
During the first annual Africa Insurance and Reinsurance Conference last month in Nairobi, Trevor Davidson of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) took time to answer questions and build trust on technology as a catalyst of change in the insurance industry.
It was clear that the continuous disruption of technological advancements, the ever increasing regulatory changes and compliance policies that needs to be adhered to along with the increased demand for customer satisfaction and the need for up to date product development at lower costs and unstable political conditions are some of the challenges and limitations that are still plaguing the sector.
Despite those challenges, the end product still need to retain a high quality, user friendly, more intelligent software application that is more interactive, is more customer centric but has simpler user interfaces and can be accessed from just about any mobile and smart device out there in the market. At the end of the day, the true value add of all IT costs need to reflect a positive difference to the bottom line of business.
Some of the trends that are slowly changing over the African continent include the traditional way of product development which is not meeting the required needs. There is the need for mobile technology enablement (growing at an alarming rate), the old mind set of doing everything in-house is slowly changing and more companies are looking at either outsourcing or forming strategic partnerships with companies who can provide BPO and shared services.
African expansion is high on everyone’s radar and cross border or cross region business is the order of the day. Cloud solutions are seriously being considered as more intellectual in developing consumer market with younger consumers who have clear cut demands and product needs is increasingly becoming popular. You will be left behind if you fail to invest in updated, scalable IT technology and migration from legacy systems.
How IT can help
If you find yourself in an area that is outside of your expertise consider Intelligent Partnering. CSC for example has partnered and helped clients, in many of the biggest companies worldwide in achieving their desired goals, whether it is a mature, emerging or developing market. IT solutions that are currently sought after in the insurance industry include cloud solutions, cyber security, bio-metrics, PAS (Policy Administration Systems) – Integral Suite, Business Analytics and Business Intelligence Solutions, Actuarial Product Development Solutions via Visual Product Modeling Software, Re-insurance Solutions (SICS), Point of Sale Solutions and Distribution Channel (iPOS), Underwriting and Claims Solutions, and big data among others.
For over 50 years, they have studied the various market trends, analysed the ripple effects caused by these trends, and tried to forecast and devise a plan along with clients to see how best they can turn around things. In May this year, CSC was awarded the “Most Popular Insurance Solutions Provider” at the 6th China International Insurance Summit” held in Beijing.
The interesting part of this process in IT and the insurance arena is that each and every one is a consumer because many have some sort of insurance policy with a service provider. Whether it is Life Insurance, Health Insurance, Home Insurance, Car Insurance… and whether it is with your own company, or even with a competitor, at the end of the day, there is that customer to be satisfied.
Staying in the race
Picture this. The first decisive question any company has to consider is. “Do I want to be a pioneer… a leader… a trendsetter who sets the standard….be the company that everyone will focus on and use as a benchmark or do I want to be a fast follower?”
And whatever your answer, you can clearly see how this question in itself steers one towards other critical decisions that has to be made before anything can even begin to be developed. And the window of opportunity to enter a new product where application is getting shorter by the day, even if it is just a simple change like implementing a new user interface to change the look and feel of a front-end. For this reason, the importance of partnering or doing a joint venture with the correct strategic partner is of utmost importance.
You need someone who understands the insurance landscape, you need someone with experience and a proven track record, you need someone who has reputable references in delivering IT projects, and you need someone with an existing product suite and intellectual property that can meet 80-90 per cent of your needs straight out of the box.
What to consider when assessing your next phase of IT innovation is:
· Overall good design within a short timeframe – Both in functionality and user experience
· Speed to market – Whether we decide to be a leader or a fast follower
· Modernization – Rapid application development in order to cope with budget constraints and to increase the lifespan of our current existing systems or applications
· Enablement and Compatibility – To be able to adhere to the demands of our customers with regard to mobility, cloud accessibility, etc.
· Selecting the Right Partner – A partner with a proven track record and the experts in the field.
By Victor Adar