Innovation at IBA
Innovation is a hot topic for insurance. The industry has lagged and has a lot of catching up to do to offer clients the experience they have come to expect. Innovation is about identifying unmet needs and untapped markets and addressing them, sometimes with untested solutions and unproven business models. For innovation to deliver sustainable growth, it must be embedded in the company’s growth model and fully integrated across the organization, bringing together cross-functional teams to approach challenges in new ways.
By integrating new technologies and functionalities in their solution, software providers empower carriers to innovate their processes and product offerings. Given the importance of the capabilities built into insurers’ systems, a legitimate question arises: How do software providers innovate to empower insurers for value creation?
To shed light, we interviewed Karina Buch, COO of IBA.
Interviewer: Thank you, Karina, for your availability to help our readers understand the innovation process in an insurance software provider such as IBA. My first question is:
How does IBA contribute to innovation in the insurance world?
Karina: We do it with the capabilities made available on our platform. Capabilities relating to both how the platform is constructed and its design – e.g.: APIs based, availability 24 by 7, being backwards compatible – and the true capabilities of an end-to-end platform.
Furthermore, and contrary to others that offer product-based insurance solutions, IBA’s modern insurance platform is product agnostics for P&C, risk-based insurance. We offer an open template so that insurers may innovate and set up a product however they wish, for the audience and distribution channel they chose, made available via app, web or other, without limitation.
A third component is the business model of the insurance product. A platform must empower carriers to set up products based on innovative business models; usage-based (on/off), swiping covers on or off depending on life stage or context, affinity, white label, embedded, B2B or B2B2C and so on. And just like a magic cube, the same platform must permit configuring a multitude of offerings with different characteristics to the same or other client segments as well as be multi-tenant.
To summarize, we do not tell insurers how to innovate but, through IB Suite, we give insurers the capabilities so that they can innovate on all these important factors for their business.
Innovation at IBA goes by identifying and implementing the capabilities that will enable insurers to do novel things in a new manner.
As much as the insurance industry must innovate to adapt to changing customer needs, software providers that serve this industry must look for new ways of meeting the evolving needs of their clients. What are the processes in place at IBA to innovate in its product offering?
Karina: We do a couple of things. We do a “voice of the customer” and ask our key clients what their plans are and how they wish to achieve them. We also question our IS (information system) partners as to the trends they identify in the market, what is more in demand, and what we should put on the roadmap.
An example of this is the data lake which we enquired about, which was commented on by one of our IS partners and referred to by one of our big customers. As a result, we developed the concept and now have incorporated it for rollout in our roadmap.
How do you measure the effectiveness of your innovation processes?
Karina: We do it in several ways. We monitor customer-related KPIs – such as the volume of transactions and GWP – also for service fee purposes – to assess the adoption and use of each (new) functionality. We also speak to the customers and collect their feedback. And, in the sales process too, we share our views and intentions on novelties to gather insight into the attractiveness of new functionalities. So we have different touchpoints to come to conclusions and of course, there is then the ultimate, as to whether the customer wants to be a reference customer, and what they say.
Any innovation, innovative feature or offering you may share you will launch soon?
Karina: Normally we never do that, and the reason is I want our prospects to buy IB Suite for what it is today and not what it might be tomorrow.
Well, thank you Karina for those insights and for making us understand better how software vendors such as IBA contribute to the innovative process of insurance.