Modern Insurance Platform Benefits
‘With the technology that has been used by insurers for decades, and even with many modern legacy core systems deployed just a few years ago, it is impossible to add a usage-based or episodic insurance product. It is equally difficult to sell a bundle of different types of insurance products in one go or bundle insurance and non-insurance products to add unique value. Those modern legacy systems were designed for a more traditional era of insurance. They served their purpose for yesterday, but tomorrow will be quite different.’ [i]
Having previously covered the technical aspects of a Modern Insurance Platforms: What to look for in a previous blog, we here wish to present qualitative advantages insurers may expect.
Most (older) core insurance systems are product-driven, their heart is the policy admin system (PAS). As insurers switch their business models to focus on clients, modern insurance platforms need to accommodate and have the same focus. One of the main differentiating factors of modern core insurance platforms is, therefore, to provide the foundation to build a digital insurance ecosystem for a 360-degree view of customers, across services and products.
As Manikandan Natarajan, VP of Technology at Simpelsolve, said[ii]
‘A truly modern core platform is always customer-centric, cloud-native, built on a flexible tech stack of containers, microservices and open APIs that will support ecosystem partners and a fully digital experience.’
Providing a great experience to customers, agents, and users
While bringing the customer front and centre is paramount and attracting much attention, caring about the insurance agent experience is just as important. It is the agent that in many cases guides the customer experience. By improving the agent’s experience, a carrier will have the double benefit of heightening customer satisfaction and the agent’s loyalty.
New customer-centric technology is enabled by persona-based applications that connect to a consistent data set. Therefore, any other persona – an agent in our case – may benefit from a similar experience as a customer but tailored to his needs.
Furthermore, a modern core insurance platform with access to external third-party data for a 360º view of the customer may arm agents with intuitive CRM tools for acquisition and retention, as no legacy system may.
Modern, Next-Generation or Coretech Platforms
The future of insurance is all about collaboration, not only with the traditional external stakeholders of insurers such as agents, brokers and adjusters but also with new partners such as insurtechs, third-party services and providers, amongst which drone technology, IoT, embedded insurance or weather information, just to mention a handful.
To strive in such a world an insurer needs a platform that brings together the core operational and digital insurance capabilities needed to support emerging business models and leverage insurtech innovation and data for growth in emerging B2B and B2C ecosystems. The term coretech has also emerged to call these new technology platforms that are cloud-native and rich in microservices and APIs.
As illustrated by Accenture in the drawing below[iii], Open API Ecosystem Require Good Partnership Management for Success, enabled by coretech, modern ecosystem-enabled insurance technology platforms.
Self-sufficiency and Independence from System Vendor
In the past decade, to free themselves from the hurdle of maintaining and developing custom-built legacy systems, insurers opted for standard commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) core systems. By doing so, they became dependent on the vendor to alter or modify much, if any, of the software, thus reducing their self-sufficiency and independence.
Modern platforms have emerged to respond to such constraints and offer best practices for reducing the risk of implementation. Configurable by the client, these modern platforms offer the required flexibility, agility and scalability for companies to implement their corporate objective, autonomously from the system vendor.
Whether the corporate strategy is an expansion in a new market or cost reduction through process review, as we will see in the next section, a modern system integrates the necessary capabilities and functionalities that may be leveraged for speedy development, testing and implementation.
Key (digital) Capabilities Available
As we’ve mentioned, next-gen platforms integrate many capabilities and features, differentiating them from traditional Policy Administration Systems.
Cognizant presents in the two tables below[iv]:
Having these capabilities readily available, insurers may configure them easily and autonomously to be up and running in a short time frame.
Access Relevant and Granular Data
The more digital our world becomes; the more data is generated. Open, a modern insurance platform may be fed with data of all kinds. Next to transactional data relative to operations with internal and external stakeholders, the internet and other connected devices deliver data from weather channels and social media, for claims and fraud detection purposes, for instance.
Once these datasets are defined in a platform, they are automatically exposed and available to any other functionality or module, internal or external via APIs, for analysis and/or action. This also means that records of a given field are easily extracted and/or analysed giving insurers a 360º view to be utilized for reporting, scenario building, AI and automation purposes, amongst others.
Compliance as easy as a click
Regulatory compliance has become a challenge for insurers. A growing number of rules to obey and run a business make it necessary for insurers to have growing teams to assess, report and mitigate the risks imposed by new legislation and system evolution.
Modern platform vendors integrate tools in their solution that facilitate the task of organizations needing to comply with stringent Know Your Customer (KYC) standards, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, or other solvency regulations. As regulators issue new rules, insurers need not spend their time and money programming their system for compliance. Their software supplier takes care of it, develops the necessary functionalities and makes them available via regular software updates, thus automatically reducing the ever-growing compliance risk of insurers.
No More Technical Debt
Despite a multitude of definitions of the concept of “technical debt”, all relate to ageing code and/or infrastructure that become inadequate as well as the sums of money that are spent fixing it instead of being spent on a more resilient and adequate solution.
Some technical debt is inevitable, but it moves from an important topic to an urgent one when it adversely impacts the balance sheet. When systems are closed, unable to connect to innovative technology and insurers build under-efficient patches giving the impression of business as usual, technical debt is piling up in terms of complexities and costs.
Connecting a new modern core that is open and evolutive reduces the technical debt and builds resilience for evolutions to come.
Another way to look at it [technical debt] is the difference between an insurer with a high-performing tech stack and another with what has thus far been perceived as an ‘average’ performing tech stack. If you are spending 70% on business as usual (BAU), 20% on innovation, and 10% on other incidentals, then you are part of the ‘average’ Insurers. Compare this with High Performing Insurers who spend 40% on BAU and 50% on innovation. [v]
Open, Flexible and Innovation-ready
Having to collaborate with a growing number of internal and external stakeholders, Insurers’ systems of today and tomorrow need to be open and have a library of connectors ready.
Furthermore, their systems need the flexibility to adapt to varying partners and an ever-changing environment. Having been a talk for the last decade, flexible modular IT is now becoming mainstream along with associated management practices such as agile and cross-collaboration – in the table below McKinsey illustrates how modular IT is now technically possible.
Coincidentally, Cognizant recognizes [vi] an increasing understanding among insurers that the foundational components of yesterday’s PAS – architecture, tech stack and functionality – contribute to reduced flexibility, scalability, and digital readiness.
By building solutions on an architecture that is open and flexible, vendors of modern platforms make them accessible to the technologies and innovations both of today and tomorrow, making them future-proof. By adopting these platforms, incumbents become thus better equipped to satisfy the expectations of their customers and compete with the surging tech-native insurers.
Quick time to market (and value)
In a world where the internet, social media and mobile have accustomed consumers to have want they want there and then, timing is paramount. A quick time to market a new product or a quick implementation of a new distribution agreement is expected. Implementation of a new insurance platform follows the line.
Simplifying and quickening its implementation, modern platforms are made up of low-code or no-code modules that connect with each other and the rest of the world through a library of ready-made APIs. Requiring very little or no coding, the modules comprise all necessary parameters that are easily set up to reflect business rules. Depending on their specialization, vendors also propose templates of life, non-life, individual, commercial and/or group products quickly configured and implemented, contributing to a quick implementation time.