The South African insurance industry is on the verge of radical – technological – changes in the way it operates. It needs to tackle some of the top issues that include modernising finance, actuarial, and risk management functions; improving the customer experience and data analytics; and effectively managing policy administration systems transformations.

These challenges should dictate how insurance companies package their products and services to best address varying customer needs and preferences. Customer needs go hand–in-hand with technological advancement, enabling each generation to interact with businesses using different channels that not only include traditional methods, but those of a digital generation.

“At present, insurers struggle to understand who their customers are and there is a deficit between what insurers offer and what their customers actually want,” says Filippo De Montis, Director of Global Solutions for Banking and Insurance at Software AG. “Their consumers are ever-changing as they fluctuate to better deals and benefits, and through the adoption of new technologies. These clients want to be engaged in a different manner, and in a way that is convenient for them.”

The benefits and possibilities are endless for insurance companies in this regard, particularly by transforming the way they work digitally. Insurers can thrive if they are flexible, able to adapt rapidly, and to capitalise on change without the risks associated with it.

The benefit associated with digital transformation is being able to develop products that go to market faster than competitors. For example, providing an easy to use, digital claim processes for customers makes it quick and easy for both employees and customers because the entire process is automated. Empowering staff members through the availability of a full client profile that incorporates graphical reporting, monitoring claim volumes and fast-tracking claims also creates a better, streamlined service.

A number of insurers use old manual systems for new client’s records, the management of towing, assessors, repairers, emergency services and reporting. There seems to be a fear of losing and replacing existing systems within the insurance industry. Says De Montis: “The movement to digital does not need to be a hard and painful process. It starts with using solutions that integrate with your existing systems.”

Luigi Van Geest, Executive VP International, Roundcube, explains that each insurance company needs to analyse its processes and efficiencies in order to implement solutions that will be beneficial for both the customer and the organisation. Cloud-enabled solutions, modular policy, billing and claims management solutions that are designed specifically for the insurance industry may go a long way in getting around industry pain points.

De Montis adds that an emphasis on solutions that are independent and can be added onto existing core insurance systems is required. These can address the limitations of older systems and propel insurers into the future, enabling companies to capitalise on their system’s long–standing strengths and reap the benefits of the customer-centric approach immediately. The transformation of the insurance industry into the digital generation has begun . . .

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