Brokerage Ops

Q&A with Sandeep Deva

VP, Consulting, Exdion Solutions
By Rob Boyce
Q
How can smart technologies like AI, machine learning, mobile, etc., help insurance agencies protect their turf and grow?
A
As you know, many agencies have manual policy management processes. These processes suffer from manual errors, scaling up and quick response challenges. With these technologies, companies can cut costs anywhere between 40-70%, expedite operational efficiency by almost 40% in first few months, and reduce business response times.
Q
So, what you are saying is many smart tools can be used to disrupt people-intensive processes. Do these investments need to be made all at once, or can they be done in phases?
A
The advantage with these technologies is unlike an enterprise application which needs a big bang investment and change, these can be implemented in phases. Moreover, the time for adoption of these tools is in a few weeks, not months. Also, these technologies are built on open architecture and can scale up quickly with turnkey implementations.
Q
Are these technology investments costly? How early can the companies realize ROI?
A
These are very affordable investments. Moreover, the payback period is just a few months. There are huge direct and indirect benefits agencies realize with investment in relevant technology.
Q
Are these technologies for very large agencies or can smaller agencies also benefit from using these?
A
Depends on the type of problem we want to address. By breaking down the problem to address issues incrementally we can and have brought down costs significantly while developing solutions for smaller agencies. In fact, many small agencies shy away from technology investment fearing high cost or huge requirements of technical resources. These tools actually help smaller agencies that are short of finances or resources. ExdionLITE is one of our products that uses AI and machine learning to address policy checking. By managing the scope we have been able to reduce the cost significantly. Many small agencies do not check policies because of investment and resources constraints. ExdionLITE is an affordable solution that helps them address policy checking and eliminate E&O risks.
Q
Will bringing in technology impact current jobs? Is there a threat to employees?
A
Excellent question. This is one of the most important questions that agencies have when considering adoption of technology in their business processes. Technology will only complement the work performed by agency staff. It will elevate their roles and allow them to perform client-facing tasks that are more interesting. For instance, we all know how time-consuming the task of policy checking is, and we all have backlogs while it comes to policy checking. This is usually an add-on task for account managers and CSRs, outside of their daily client-centric tasks. By using technology, we are ensuring that the workforce is freed from having to do mundane tasks by automating it and providing a high level of accuracy at the same time. Tasks like collecting information from clients on their exposures, tracking all the changes and updating the AMSs, are secondary processes subordinate to the primary process of marketing the policy and getting the best premiums for the client. Automation can help them with these sub-activities and make life easier for your workforce. The contraction of the workforce in the market is another reason that automation should be adopted as early as possible.
Q
How do firms evaluate if they should partner with an insurtech company or build a solution in-house?
A
The right insurtech company, as the name suggests, certainly comes with domain and technical expertise. They are the experts who specialize in technologies and understand the insurance domain. Just as brokers recommend industry specialists to cater to specific needs of the client to avoid issues it makes sense to use organizations that understand the industry and have worked with multiple organizations in developing solutions that work.
Q
One of our member organizations is looking at AMS migration but doesn’t want to go through the painful process of data transfer and re-training. Is there a technology that can automate this process?
A
Yes, Exdion comes with hands-on experience in a robotized AMS migration process. We understand the importance of a positive customer experience, as we have designed and delivered customer responsive applications in the past and helped various clients in change management projects. The team strategically focuses on incremental improvement; it is more about reimagining the entire journey. The biggest challenge they encounter is data clean up and mapping the information across both AMS. With robotic migration we can map different scenarios and move information seamlessly.
Q
Will the Millennial generation still consider reaching out to agencies or will they primarily shop online?
A
By 2020, 50% of the world’s workforce will be millennials. Millennials value technology when it delivers value. Agencies should strive to create person-to-person engagement across channels and deepen relationships. If you quickly adopt technology to cater to the needs of the younger generation, you will surely be in the game.
Q
How can the agencies transform or digitize phase by phase?
A
If you are new to automation, then try to begin with baby steps and then eventually expand. Starting small can help you clearly define objectives, the scope of work and the desired outcomes. Agencies need to take baby steps to implement and manage changes strategically rather than disrupting the entire workflow. Agencies should identify the areas to be automated. Trying to automate all complex processes is of no use if they do not provide any substantial savings. Understand the extent of automation and avoid going overboard. Using cognitive automation in all areas may not lead to significant savings; focus on hybrid processes to achieve desired goals. It is important to assess if a hybrid approach can be taken where the optimized use of automation and human intervention can be used to achieve the desired objectives. Similarly, if it is just a one-off activity that will not be repeated after its completion, then automating such activity using RPA may not be useful.
Q
How does one best evaluate an insurtech partner?
A
The insurance industry is unique. Some insurtech innovators are eager to enter the industry and will promise you sophisticated automation tools, but you need to asses if you really need the whole suite of products they are offering. Make sure you are not getting into multiple systems that work in silos, rather opt for an insurtech that is willing to create a layer of technology that can be easily integrated with existing systems and can complement the AMS.

Rob Boyce Director, Market Intelligence & Insights Read More

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