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INVESTING IN CONFIDENCE

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By Carolyn Corda, CMO and CCO, Adara

 

Finance marketers are presented with a much-changed landscape since the one they knew before the world shut down. Gearing up for a post-covid and post-tracking world is no mean feat, especially when finance regulations around data and marketing are added to these general industry challenges.

Reaching customers in a relevant and timely way is more important than ever. Finance marketers know that it’s crucial to find customers in important moments of change in their life: as they buy a new house, have kids, write their will, retire or make any other decision that might make it time to change banks. Engaging with a potential customer or existing one in a personal way is crucial to getting noticed in those moments.

What’s more, marketers need to understand what their customers need and want in a wider sense to have any chance at effective decision-making based on smart insights, rather than guesswork based on behaviours that existed pre-pandemic. However, understanding customers, how their lives are changing and what might be coming next is a challenge exacerbated by recent changes in the industry.

Google Chrome has delayed the coming ‘death of the third party cookie’ until 2023, but this is just that – a delay. Although the industry may not yet be ready (cue some scrambling from Google to find more time), marketers are simply being given an opportunity to test new technologies that ultimately do not rely on third party behavioural tracking. Meanwhile, with Apple asking people to opt-in to tracking (which, most seem to be saying no to) along with ever tightening privacy and data laws, marketers in finance may feel that making informed decisions around what a customer wants now or will want next is becoming an increasingly daunting task.

 

First party, last resort?

Of course, most brands sit upon a wealth of data directly from their own customers. What could be more useful to a brand than insights that directly relate to how an individual engages with your specific brand, one might ask?

While first party data is an incredibly useful resource for marketers, it does have huge limitations that will come into sharp relief as the ability to track individuals across the web wanes. Understanding how someone interacts with another brand not only adds dimensions to a given brand’s understanding of the individual, it also enables them to predict more accurately how that person may want to interact with the brand in future.

Take, for example, a credit card company that knows it has a customer on an airline rewards program. If it also knows how that person interacts with hotels, spas, restaurants, concert venues – they can get a true idea of what motivates them to travel and which offers or messages might appeal. For example, a person who loves to splash out on a spa day when they travel may well be a good recipient for a push around wellness-based rewards. This is one small point around how a wider understanding of someone can enable both brand and customer to get the most out of the relationship.

 

Danger in the walled gardens

A finance marketer might then think – great, Facebook and Google can find those who like to splurge on experiences. It’s true that these platforms can help financial institutions find audiences that are right for the message.

However once again there are limitations – each platform only enables reaching those audiences within that platform. So across other parts of the web and the customer relationship, the business starts to lag in terms of delivery of relevant and personal customer engagement.

 

A privacy-first approach

So it seems that on top of first party data and engagement within the walled gardens, marketers need a supply of data that can deliver rich insights across individuals. Of course, the foremost concern with any data for this purpose is that it is privacy-centric and absolutely secure.

Key to this is data partnerships. First party data can be taken from a brand, tokenising it so that sensitive data  ever needs to leave the business’ firewalls and remains totally anonymous to any outside parties, giving partner brands insights into customers. At Adara, we are able to leverage these insights, layering them on top of each other from multiple brands to create a fully anonymous and secure individual graph to enable relevant and personalised customer engagement, as well as understanding of what customers need and want from their financial institutions of choice. This means that brands have access to intelligence they know to be accurate, and predictive – so they can make informed decisions both about what a customer wants today and what they may well require in future.

In other words, they can make decisions with confidence. Confidence that they understand what their customers want, and what they’re comfortable doing in this new world. And most of all, confidence that this insight does not come at the expense of privacy or security – that it is safe to use and unexploitable by other parties.

Navigating changing behaviours for a financial institution is critical, as customers’ behaviours and preferences have changed dramatically and old data will not suffice to make decisions with confidence. While old tracking technologies may still exist, they are on the way out: now is the time to be sure your brand is ready.

 

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Insurance providers must be ready to tackle quote manipulation as potential fraud rises

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Sam Marsh, director, product management at LexisNexis Risk Solutions Insurance

As road fuel costs reach a record high[i]  and inflation hits a level not seen in 40 years[ii], it is little wonder that reducing motoring spend, including shopping around for cheaper car insurance, is top of the agenda for many people. Indeed, recent reports indicate that 68% of UK adults plan to decrease the amount they spend on driving[iii]. As finances are squeezed, the fact that one in five motor insurance buyers think it is fine to manipulate details in their insurance application to obtain a favourable quote on their premium[iv], indicates that insurance application fraud looks set to rise.

To some, quote manipulation may seem innocent enough, but deliberately misstating key pieces of information is fraud. This can have the knock-on effect of increasing policy prices for all.  More concerning is that individuals deliberately misstating information in their application could find their policy is made null and void if this is discovered at claim and they may also find it difficult to obtain insurance in the future.  What may seem like a little white lie can have long-lasting ramifications.

What exactly is quote manipulation though? Manipulating a quote is when a person applying for insurance (the proposer) deliberately materially changes information on an application throughout the quote journey, to reduce the premium. It could be the address the vehicle is left at overnight, whether it has any modifications or years licence held. Often this is done across numerous quotes to compare results, cherry-picking the best.

‘Fronting’ is an example of application fraud and often involves quote manipulation.  This is where a person (often a father/mother/older sibling) declare themselves as the main driver/proposer, when really it is their newly qualified family member who would be a higher cost to insure.  They will try numerous quotes, swapping out different main drivers, to see how the costs compare.

So how can the shrewd use of data enrichment at point of quote help the industry move the fight against fraud from detection at point of claim, to prevention at the front door?  It comes down to using quotation data intelligence gathered from across the insurance market.

Fraud comes in many guises, but insurance providers cannot fight it in silo. A market-wide quote history database can help identify potentially fraudulent quote behaviour in real-time by comparing quotes across a specific period of time to identify the probability of data being manipulated.  This insight puts insurance providers in a position to check the facts with the customer before policy inception.

It’s not just fraud prevention this quote history data can help with, understanding the likelihood of quote manipulation can also help support pricing and underwriting practices, when used alongside additional data attributes at the point of quote.

Indeed, insurance providers could combine unique insight into how, when and if an individual has shopped for insurance with further insurance specific data sources such as policy history (cancellations, gaps in cover); vehicle history (MOT, valuation, mileage); the presence and performance of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems; and soon claims history to create a 360-degree view of the risk. This can help insurance providers consider the suitability of a product or price for a particular customer, offering them a significantly better customer experience.

Our research suggests that it is younger people who are more likely to manipulate quotes with nearly three quarters of 18–24-year-olds in our recent study thinking any or some adjustment of information is okay in order to reduce their insurance premium[v].  This may not come as a surprise given a recent report has found that the under-30s are disproportionately being forced to bear the brunt of the costs of social care reform and Covid via a 10% increase National Insurance Contributions and freeze on the student loan repayment threshold[vi]. So, the ‘Packhorse Generation’ as they are being dubbed, may, more than other generations, give in to the temptation of quote manipulation.

However, as stated previously, if an insurance provider knows up front the risk of a quote being manipulated, that is their opportunity to query the validity of the data and educate consumers who may be genuinely unaware of the risks of deliberate mis-statements, before policy inception.  This approach can help protect both themselves and the customer from the outcome of fraud.

As economic pressure spirals, insurance professionals have an immediate opportunity to leverage consumer quote information to educate, protect and price customers based on their shopping behaviour.

[i] https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/fuel-prices/diesel-fuel-prices-hit-new-record-high-as-uk-moves-away-from-importing-russ/

[ii] https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/consumerpriceinflation/april2022

[iii] https://www.themotorombudsman.org/press-releases/tmo-urges-motorists-to-keep-vehicle-servicing-front-of-mind-in-the-face-of-cost-of-living-hike

[iv] LexisNexis Risk Solutions was not identified as the sponsor of this research, which was based on a survey of 1,546 consumers who had bought motor insurance online within the last 12 months and was conducted during April 2022

[v] LexisNexis Risk Solutions was not identified as the sponsor of this research, which was based on a survey of 1,546 consumers who had bought motor insurance online within the last 12 months and was conducted during April 2022

[vi] https://www.if.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/packhorse_inflation_press_release_FINAL.pdf

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Can intelligent automation ensure the survival of the insurance industry?

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By

Eric Tyree, SVP of AI and Innovation, SS&C Blue Prism

 

The economic viability of the insurance industry’s current business model has been in question for a number of years. McKinsey’s 2022 Global Insurance Report shows that 52% of the industry’s global equity had a return on equity (ROE) lower than their cost of equity over the past five years. While most insurers predict premiums will continue to rise in 2022, following the 2020 pandemic-induced growth rate contraction to 1.2%, many non-pandemic obstacles remain in place, including changing consumer preferences and the rise of relevance-challenging advanced technologies.

Intelligent automation (IA) has the ability to upend this outdated model, replacing it with an effective and profitable alternative. By integrating IA into the claims, underwriting, pricing and distribution processes, insurance firms can improve margins and productivity, as well as customer and employee satisfaction.

 

Why is the insurance industry flailing?

The insurance industry is in a state of stagnation, struggling to maintain profitable operations. Fee transparency has made it easy for customers to seek out lower-cost options, while growing technology adoption has heightened price and speed pressures, fueling an increasingly competitive landscape.

Property and casualty insurers have struggled to reduce costs in recent years and the overall industry has seen an ROE slightly below cost of equity – with the exception of insurance brokers, which were the only segment to see positive economic growth. These oppositional forces are further compounded by the lack of growing demand in mature markets. The industry is increasingly dependent on price increases, rather than expanding client bases and new coverage offerings.

This changing growth model that relies on price increases is one of the industry’s greatest threats moving forward. The sector needs to unlock latent customer demand, improve value creation and cultivate growth and innovation. Advanced technologies can be leveraged to accomplish this, resulting in lowered costs, optimized customer and employee experience, as well as improved decision-making and productivity.

 

Why has digital transformation become imperative for the industry?

The changing demands of the market require insurance companies to operate at increasingly faster speeds. As McKinsey reports, “What used to take years must now be done in months or weeks.” Such rates of operation can be accomplished by leveraging the powers of intelligent automation. By integrating IA, insurers can reduce their turnaround times, take on higher volumes of applications and drastically reduce error rates, which are more common when human workers are left to conduct repetitive tasks. This gives employees time back and enables them to develop innovative strategies, focus on complex cases and offer tailored customer experiences.

This is especially important as the industry’s competitive landscape has become a “fight for the customer.” Consumers expect the convenience and ease of digital channels but still need the personalized service that only human workers can provide. This is where insurance firms can differentiate themselves – by striking the right balance between automation and tailored human service.

The rapid growth of insurtechs – entities using technological innovations to maximize savings and productivity in the insurance industry – further illustrates IA’s integrality to the industry moving forward. Their threat to traditional insurers is evidenced by global investment in them increasing from $1 billion in 2004 to $14.6 billion in 2021. Insurtechs offer digitally enhanced client experiences and tend to focus on the marketing and distribution segment of the value chain, along with property and casualty products. These behaviors signal value-adding areas to the rest of the industry.

 

How does the insurance industry leverage the power of intelligent automation?

For many insurance companies, the transition away from legacy systems and siloed functions in the face of budgetary pressures can seem daunting. However, insurers can work with an automation partner to ease the process. Such partners enable them to make the most of their existing systems, using digital workers to operate between previously siloed systems and sync data between applications. This method allows insurance firms to incrementally dismantle their legacy systems, rather than being forced into an all-at-once approach.

Using this transitional automation strategy, tasks related to onboarding, data analysis, claims fulfillment and invoicing can still be automated, unburdening human workers and, in turn, promoting innovation and new revenue streams. This automation management will help insurers streamline the customer journey, settle claims faster and ensure compliance with the latest regulations. And, as the returns from IA initiatives free up more resources, insurance companies can further automate processes and deconstruct legacy systems, creating increasing value and returns.

Thomas Miller, a leading international insurance services provider covering 80% of the world’s containers, worked with SS&C Blue Prism to integrate intelligent automation into its operations. It was looking for solutions that worked with its “low-volume, high-value” model and didn’t require implementing costly new IT infrastructures. As a result, the company was able to see significant ROI, increase agility and resilience, process renewal applications 24 hours a day/ seven days a week, improve accuracy while reducing turnaround times, and give underwriters more time to focus on value-promoting work. This ultimately served to improve the customer experience, a key competitive differentiator in the industry today.

Although the demand for insurance is expected to continue to rise this year, especially in emerging markets, the industry’s long-term longevity will depend on its ability to adapt quickly. Advanced digital technologies have the ability to either boost insurers’ competitive edge or render them obsolete. The future relevance of the insurance industry will depend on its willingness and commitment to adapting to this changing environment.

 

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