“The insurance industry has generally been slow to adopt new digital approaches, but times are now changing.”
—”Insurance on the Threshold of Digitization,” McKinsey, 2015
IoT (the Internet of Things). Driverless cars. Wearables. Augmented reality. Cutting-edge technologies are interesting to read about in tech publications, but let’s talk practically: What do they have to do with the everyday challenges of running an insurance company?
According to the innovation adoption curve, where brand-new technologies are embraced by innovators and early adopters before gradually taking hold in the early and late majorities, not much…yet.
Technology for the real world
There’s another bucket of emerging technologies that does address the everyday challenges of running an insurance company. This category isn’t about upgrading your technology for the sake of having the tech du jour. It’s about thoughtfully investing in technology that can truly transform your internal processes and create an exceptional customer experience.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is an emerging technology that falls squarely into that “useful” category. Even—and especially—if your insurance organization is as technologically conservative as they come, RPA is useful for working seamlessly behind the scenes to connect legacy systems, gather external data and automate repetitive human tasks that drain productivity out of your operations and create a frustrating customer experience. Ideal for automating tasks that are repetitive, highly manual and rules-based, RPA can have a profound impact in property & casualty and life insurance organizations.
But how does robotic process automation work specifically in the insurance industry? Let’s look at three examples.
1. New business and underwriting
Underwriting involves gathering information from multiple sources in order to assess the risk associated with any given policy, and this process takes time—an average of 3-4 weeks in life insurance, for example, and because it takes so long, 18.7 million people simply give up before the process is complete.
RPA can quickly and automatically gather and process precise data related to the applicant from both internal and external sites. For example, a life insurance company could use RPA to get relevant prescription and medical histories from Milliman IntelliScript. An auto insurer can gather DMV records or a CLUE report. Intelligent software robots can update your internal systems with the data and produce a report or premium recommendation.
According to an Accenture report, you could free up 20-30 percent of your capacity with this type of automation. Plus, robots are accurate and timely, so risk mitigation is another benefit as well as more net-new customers with faster response times.
2. Claims processing
The claims process is document- and data-intensive, requiring the collection of information from multiple sources. A lengthy and manual claims process is both an operations and a customer service issue, not to mention a competitive one. When AFLAC introduced its One Day Pay initiative, they raised the bar for insurance providers around the world.
Robotic process automation can help insurers to quickly input the First Notice of Loss (FNOL), automatically notify loss adjusters and give assignments to claims handlers, and integrate all that disparate claim information‒regardless of the source‒speeding up the process and creating a better customer experience.
One large finance and insurance provider experienced rapid growth, which most executives would argue is a good problem to have. But this growth necessitated the rapid scaling of processes, which is difficult in a high-touch, manual, paper-based environment. The insurer implemented robotic processing automation and now adjudicates claims 75 percent faster, using a robot to automatically aggregate 86 data points into a centralized document.
3. Business and process analytics
You can’t improve what you can’t measure, goes the old saying, and with complex and paper-intensive processes in an insurance company, not measuring can cost you not just in operational efficiency, but also in customer satisfaction.
Once RPA is implemented, business and process analytics allow you to gain visibility into RPA-driven workflows and enable continuous process improvement.
Each task performed by a software robot can be monitored and recorded at every step, which gives you valuable data like the number of transactions processed and exceptions encountered. Plus, you get an audit trail that can help with regulatory compliance and support further process improvement, which in turn benefits customers with streamlined applications, claims and customer service response times.
How will robotic process automation transform your insurance organization’s internal processes and help you create an exceptional customer experience? Learn how to push past human limits with better accuracy at lower cost. Download your infographic: Spinning Out of Control with Manual Tasks: 5 Ways Insurers Can Stop the Swiveling. Learn more with an informative eBook: “Stop Your Swiveling: Robotic Process Automation for Property & Casualty and Life Insurers.”