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EUROPE AND THE FUTURE OF THE INSURANCE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

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By Olivier Vaysse

European insurance providers are ripe for a digitally-enabled evolution. The sector’s customer relationship model was turned upside down by the pandemic as it forced insurers and their customers to manage their relationships virtually. However, the ability to deliver delightful omnichannel customer experiences depends on an organisation’s ability to gather, understand and act in a timely way on customer data. This requires a digital transformation that shifts insurance core systems from being not only transactional systems of record but also  a proactive engagement platform that supports an ecosystem of wider industry collaboration.

The craving for customer centricity in the European insurance industry was merely accelerated by the pandemic. It has been a long time coming. According to Statista, between 2010 and 2020, 266 InsurTech start-ups were founded in the region. This illustrates the market need for an improved, personalised experience which the legacy technology vendors could not provide. Their policy-driven operational model meant customers with multiple insurance products end up with multiple customer records which are stored across a plethora of systems. This siloed approach frustrates insurers’ efforts to gain a holistic understanding of the customer and deliver a meaningful customer experience.

To compensate for the inherent technological limitations, insurers often add layers of complexity on top of their modern legacy core systems to assemble a comprehensive view of their customers. Also, with customers now demanding real-time interactions, personalised products and self-service opportunities, traditional core systems are, quite simply,not fit for purpose anymore. What’s more, in the New Normal, customers’ expectations are only going to get more sophisticated and demanding.

From the European insurers’ perspective, something has got to change if they want to become a one-stop-shop to capture new revenue opportunities. After all, it’s only going to get more difficult and expensive to develop, deliver, support, and maintain the patchwork functionality, given the inherent limitation of their legacy core systems.

An alternative data model for customer-obsessed insurers

There’s another option for insurers looking to differentiate themselves by creating world-class customer experiences. Using the coretech approach, which leverages the open architecture of insurtech and the scalability and broad functionality of core systems, customer-centricity is more than an idea. It’s in the data model, which puts the customer record at the heart of insurance operations.

Putting the customer record, rather than the policy number, at the centre of insurance operations empowers insurers to fundamentally redefine their relationships with the insured and expands sales and services opportunities with their partners, too.

To start with, in order to offer personalised customer experiences, real-time omnichannel access, and customer self-service options, European insurers need fast access to comprehensive and correct customer details.

By consolidating contact information, history, preferences, demographics, and using powerful application programming interfaces (APIs), coretech simplifies real-time integrations with InsurTechs, data sources, and other systems. It also accelerates speed-to-market because, simply put, there are fewer and simpler integrations necessary to access and update that customer data. Having a consolidated data platform, insurers will also satisfy the compliance requirements for the world-leading data protection regime mandated by the European Union.

From the outside, coretech allows the customer to interact with their data and access rich products and services on their own terms and in real-time. They don’t wait until a batch process finishes overnight, for example, or for janky manual processes to play out through intermediaries. Coretech also extends that speed, simplicity and convenience to authorised parties such as agents, brokers through persona-based apps, and by putting insurance ecosystems within reach of even smaller insurers. 

Building a nimble insurance ecosystem to futureproof the business

From the inside, coretech allows insurers to redefine their relationships with customers and between other third-party entities. Consumers clearly have an appetite for innovation within the insurance ecosystem. For example, in the EIS Customer Compass survey, 58% of consumers globally said they were interested in a mobility bundle including auto insurance, auto loans, buying or leasing options, remote monitoring, maintenance and driver safety guidance. As the value of collaborative inter and intra-sector service offerings increase, this provides insurers with an incredible opportunity to up-sell as the owners of the customer relationship. However, their technology platforms should be agile enough to integrate with third-party services.

Many insurers have joined forces with other businesses from different sectors to create more holistic coverage options and lifecycle bundles. According to the EIS Insurer Compass research, 86% stated they believe their ability to offer customer’s additional services which go beyond protection is essential to their future success. These new propositions combine insurance and non-insurance solutions into more personalised offers that are better suited to improve customer relationships than what protection products alone have been able to achieve.  

The flexibility to consolidate and support several lines of business on a single platform offers enormous operational efficiencies and satisfies the insurer’s immediate customer-centricity concerns. It also futureproofs the business by dramatically expanding and simplifying insurers’ ability to create and run up-sell and cross-sell campaigns, launch insurance ecosystems and get closer to its customers with frictionless digital interactions. 

What does the future of insurance hold

The European insurance sector finds itself at an inflection point created by fundamental changes within the client-carrier relationship model. In all its rapidly changing forms, consumer technology is shaping peoples’ patience and expectations for when and how they communicate and do business. They want the right answers instantly. From checking their account and payment statuses to searching for and purchasing new products and services, they are not afraid to do it themselves.  These evolving customer expectations are prompting insurers to reconsider their technology investments and even their business models. The reality is that traditional core systems simply compound insurers’ technology debt and impede their journey to growth. For insurers looking to achieve real customer-centricity — even while technology and customer expectations continue to evolve — they need something different. They should consider coretech.

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From compliance to the metaverse: Investment trends to look out for during the year ahead

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By Rami Cassis, Founder and CEO of Parabellum Investments

 

In the investment world, the old saying, knowledge is power, has never been more pertinent. As any investor will testify, it is essential to retain an in-depth, and up to date, understanding of news, predictions and trends that specifically relates to his or her specific area of interest.

This is particularly true for investors in the financial sector.

We all know just how quickly the sector can change beyond recognition. The demands of consumers are forever changing, new technology is always waiting in the wings to re-write the financial status quo and the next big digital company is constantly looking to increase its market share. There is always a new trend to look out for.

As we move into a brand-new year and prepare to face the opportunities – and challenges – that doubtless lie ahead, these are some of the trends that are likely to develop during the next 12 months.

 

Personal banking conversations

In its Tech Trends 2021: A financial services perspective Deloitte states that today’s pioneering companies are using advanced digital technologies, virtualized data, and cobots to transform supply chain cost centres into customer-focused, value-driving networks, based around a personal experience.

The concept of personal banking provides a perfect example of how the financial services sector has evolved to deliver digital personal banking.

Before the digital banking revolution, personal banking involved a visit to a high street branch to sit down with a personal banker in the flesh. This personal banker would be the customer-facing, end point of a complex supply-chain, involving training centres, degree courses, carbon-emitting journeys into work – the list goes on.

Compare this to the current version of personal banking. Digital financial services firms such as Monzo have revolutionised banking thanks to sophisticated analytics and a personalised interface. The big banks are now catching up, offering their own versions of ‘modern’ banking insights for the everyday user, and furnishing them with the latest online, smartphone-powered gadgets to enable them to manage their money 24/7, wherever they might be in the world.

However, even this is now becoming somewhat stale, with many financial services providers still seeing personalization simply in terms of personalized messages. Instead, the next chapter will involve smart banks understanding that good personalization requires personalized conversations, not just messages.

Enterprise software is one of the specific investment interests of Parabellum Investments. One of our portfolio companies is ieDigital, a specialist UK financial technology provider. The team from ieDigital and Parabellum Investments analyses the latest developments in business technology regularly.

We understand the importance of pushing digital boundaries. Indeed, one eye should constantly be scanning the horizon to identify the digital tools that the customers of tomorrow will expect. The interpretation of digital transformation is specific to each organisation and translating technology into practical business outcomes requires the focused specialism the combined IE Digital & Parabellum Investments team is qualified to deliver.

We understand – and see daily – the pressure that banks are coming under to deliver an ever more personal service, and see the ability to deliver these personal conversations is one of the trends to watch during the next 12 months.

 

The metaverse

The word ‘metaverse’, is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as a “virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users”.

When Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021 it may have come as a surprise to many of the platform’s users, but it was a major moment in the company’s history. It signalled Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitions for his business; to be the leader in the development of the metaverse.

Indeed, the future of the metaverse is looking sophisticated and bright. With giants like Facebook and Microsoft introducing metaverse elements into the fabric of their business models, it’s a concept that cannot be ignored, and one which is likely to expand rapidly throughout the next 12 months.

Returning to the financial services sector as an example, in a blog post titled Metaverse, the end of banking digital transformation?, CoinYuppie speculates that the metaverse will change banking in a number of ways including:

  • Identify verification. In the metaverse, identity verification will be performed via VR glasses and Metaverse sensor devices which contain a security chip.
  • Real-time creation of financial products. In the meta universe, virtual product managers use gestures to drag and drop the entire process of digital product manufacturing.
  • Games and attractions become a source of bank traffic. You can open branches on Mount Everest, in the Tarim Basin, on the Kunlun Mountains, or in Jiuzhaigou. The bank will combine these magnificent landmarks to fully personalize its branches and display its products.

This is just the financial services sector. Just imagine the opportunities for other industries – and the tools that will be needed to deliver them.

People are likely to need virtual-reality headsets, for example, together with related components such as sensors, as virtual-reality technology becomes intrinsically linked with the metaverse world.

 

Compliance

Another key trend to look out for as we move into 2022 and beyond is how companies deal with their compliance issues.

In the wake of the global Covid pandemic, we are seeing a much-increased hybrid working model, with a large proportion of the workforce now based at home. This creates a logistical headache for compliance teams, who must now ensure that sensitive data and company secrets remain just that, despite a workforce now using multiple digital platforms, messaging systems, mobile phones and landlines.

Cloud-based archive systems that can capture multi modal communications are likely to become essential for companies to remain compliant.

 

Alternative currencies

Cryptocurrencies are likely to retain their position as one of the most talked about developments in the world of alternative currencies.

As an example, Bitcoin has risen nearly 70% since the start of 2021, driving the entire crypto market to a combined $2 trillion in value. However, heightened regulatory scrutiny and intense price fluctuations have somewhat dampened bitcoin’s prospects in recent months.

Despite this, we are likely to see banks increasingly looking at offering mainstream crypto services. We have already seen the start of this, with the first major crypto company going public with the debut of Coinbase in April, increased participation from Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs, and the approval of the first U.S. exchange-traded fund linked to bitcoin.

 

Conclusion

We all know how quickly the financial sector changes. If you happen to be reading this just a few months after it was written, several of my points might now be in the mainstream – or they might be completely obsolete.

The fact is that unless an investor possesses superhuman powers, it is impossible to identify, with 100 per cent accuracy, what the next big investment trend is. All we can do is use our experience, insights, and up-to-date sector knowledge to predict what the next big trends are likely to be.

 

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How Crypto Traders Can Avoid Unexpected Expenses

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Have you been dabbling in cryptocurrency in 2021? Are you still relatively new to the world of crypto and feeling your way around? While crypto can prove to be quite lucrative, it can also spark a lot of unexpected expenses if you aren’t careful and don’t use the proper tips. We’ve got four essential ways tips crypto traders can use to avoid unexpected expenses moving forward, making sure your experience with crypto is as positive as possible.

 

Make Sure You’re Working with a Strategy

When you get into cryptocurrency, it’s wise to look at it as you would any other type of investment. This means you have a plan and a goal of what you want to achieve. You also need to ask yourself how much of a risk you are willing to take. The answer will be different for each person, so don’t feel pressured to keep up with others. In general, cryptocurrency trading is seen as a high-risk activity, so you need to accept that going into it.

 

Diversification Can Help Limit Expenses

Any financial investment expert will tell you that diversification is an excellent way to balance your options and hopefully prevent any massive losses – or unexpected expenses. You can use this approach with cryptocurrency and make sure you’re diversifying.

 

Understand the Tax Laws and How They Apply to Crypto Investments

Did you know that you may be subject to paying taxes on your crypto assets? It’s something that isn’t always discussed, nor do all investors realise that this is the case. Cryptocurrency tax UK can be confusing and not something you want to glaze over.

Because you may face some crypto tax issues, it’s worth it to work with a company like Hodge Bakshi, which is a group of chartered tax advisors and chartered accountants. They are well versed in how individuals are taxed, what the code says, asset pools, capital gains tax and more. They can guide you through the process so there is no chance of an unpleasant surprise.

 

Keep An Eye Open for Cryptocurrency Scams

Unfortunately, scams are now popping up all over the place and if you get caught up in one, it can end up costing you money. There are business and investment cryptocurrency scams to be on the watch for. A popular one is where you are told to get others involved, like a rewards programme. So, the more people you manage to recruit into the programme, the more money you will make. This should be a huge red flag; you don’t want to get involved in any of these.

Another popular scam is the promise to convert your bitcoin to cash, which can result in you losing your money. Remember the saying – if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. In other words, be sceptical and don’t get pulled into anything.

While it’s impossible to anticipate every possible scenario, these tips can help you to avoid unexpected expenses or at least limit their negative effects.

 

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