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Wealth Management

From legacy to leading edge: How insurtech is redefining insurance



By Alastair Gill – Principal Data Scientist , GFT


The COVID-19 pandemic left multiple macroeconomic hurdles in its wake, not least for the insurance industry. The global event forced the industry to embrace a remote workforce and virtual customer and distributor engagement to meet evolving expectations for customised products, channels and services.

This shift enabled the insurance industry to adopt new technologies and innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). With the emergence and adoption of insurtech, a fresh wave of disruption has been brought about that promises increased efficiency, reduced costs and risk, and enhanced customer experiences in the insurance industry.

The rise of insurtech

Insurtech broadly refers to the use of technological innovations designed to enhance and optimise savings and efficiency within the current insurance model. From AI-powered chatbots streamlining customer service to the use of machine learning to increase efficiency in processing claims, insurtech is transforming how insurance companies operate and serve policyholders.

The global insurtech market size was valued at $5.45 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow exponentially to reach $152.43 billion by 2030. As insurers confront an uncertain market, the need to deliver greater value to stakeholders and boost operational efficiency has become a top priority. Streamlining processes by integrating innovative technologies has been critical to driving this enhanced efficiency across insurance operations.

Alastair Gill

AI and machine learning

Artificial intelligence’s powerful data processing and pattern recognition capabilities are unlocking practical use cases for insurance companies. Insurers are leveraging AI to more accurately evaluate claims risk, optimise pricing strategies and provide personalised coverage options to customers. AI can analyse a multitude of factors that influence insurance risks and outcomes. This includes everything from a customer’s personal details and history to wider environmental factors. By processing this data, AI can provide insurers with detailed risk assessments, helping them make more informed decisions.

Underwriting and claims processing are two key functions in the insurance industry. Underwriting involves assessing risk and determining the premium that should be charged, whilst claims processing involves verifying and paying out claims. These processes have traditionally been manual and time-consuming. However, with the advent of AI, these processes are being automated. AI algorithms can analyse large volumes of data, including customer profiles, claims history and market trends, to provide insights and predictions. This enables underwriters to make faster, more accurate decisions when evaluating risks, determining policy terms and setting premiums.

Similarly, from the moment a customer opens an insurance claim, AI technology can streamline the administrative process through process automation. For example, AI can assess the damage sustained by a vehicle and the cost of repairing it. This means that as soon as a customer opens a claim, they can receive immediate assistance and guidance, making the process smoother and more efficient.

The results for automating such tasks have proven to reduce the risk of human error whilst increasing the speed of decision making. Ultimately, insurers stand to save more on operational costs by automating routine manual tasks, as well as on costs associated with errors or delays, whilst better servicing customers and increasing response times.

The road ahead

Like any major change, insurtech will not become commonplace without overcoming some challenges. Cybersecurity and data privacy concerns may arise with the increased use of AI, machine learning and cloud computing, so enhanced cybersecurity strategies will be required as tech adoption advances. Consumer wariness of digital-first insurance companies could hinder adoption too, and insurtech innovations could face internal resistance from firms accustomed to legacy processes.

Meanwhile, operationally, there is no doubt that the workforce will need to adapt and develop new competencies to thrive in the age of insurtech, as the nuances of the insurance sector mean there will always be a need for human decision making. Increased productivity and automation will transform how insurance staff operate, shifting focus to higher-value tasks and responsibilities.

Finally, for consumers, insurtech promises insurance that is more personalised, transparent and convenient through digital experiences. Much of the legwork of seeking coverage could be reduced through AI-guided self-service, and some types of claims processing and payouts could become near-instantaneous thanks to automation.

Insurtech appears to have the potential to bring about changes in an industry that has been relatively unchanged for some time. Companies that strategically embed these emerging technologies will separate them from the competition on the road ahead. By leveraging insurtech’s potential, insurers can build a future that is more profitable, more transparent and more customer-centric overall.


Increasing the visibility of assets: How will businesses track assets in 2024



Liam Reid, Technology and Innovation Director at The Barcode Warehouse


There is a growing trend towards using device tracking technologies to better protect digital assets, leading to changes in how businesses approach cost benefits and efficiency improvements.

As we look ahead to the new year, we can expect this trend to continue, as more and more industries recognise the advantages of implementing digital technologies in the workplace.

This rise in tracking technology use coincides with businesses struggling with how to best integrate device management technology into their infrastructure.

Until recently, this kind of technology has experienced significantly lower levels of uptake in comparison to others. In the race towards digitalisation, many businesses could not see the justification for purchasing tracking solutions, yet these attitudes, as well as those towards asset management generally, have started to change. Rising hardware and supply chain costs continue to add further strain on companies and with the need to improve efficiencies and business operations, companies are placing more value on their current assets, with a stronger desire to protect investments in a tough economic climate and increase the sweating periods.


Valuable assets

With businesses facing rising costs and economic challenges, there is a growing emphasis on maximising the value derived from current assets. Device management services provide a solution for businesses, by collecting all business assets under one form of organisational control, companies can then review the location, status, condition and utilisation of any asset. Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions offer businesses significant advantages when compared to other device management platforms. A device management service via a MDM platform allows businesses of any size to gain control of their full estate of devices, regardless of their model or operating system, as long as the device is still supported and secure.

With companies looking to the future to help elongate device usage and lifespan, centralised device management can support this by protecting and maximising a return on a business’s mobile technology investment. The data provided by MDM solutions can offer companies increased visibility of mobile technology to help make data-driven decisions regarding the volume of devices within a business estate and ownership within the company.

With businesses looking more closely at device management and extending their lifespan, there has been an increasing demand for organisations to be able to track devices even when in low-power mode or switched off. This means we can expect low-frequency solutions such as SigFox and LoRa Wan to become more prevalent in the tracking world along with the continued growth around IOT allowing for the management of non-intelligent but highly valuable assets becoming more prevalent. With qualities such as deep indoor penetration and longer-range capabilities, these will support an increased demand for tracking both inside and outside of the four walls that experts are expecting in the next year.

Here are my predictions for the channel market in 2024.


Digitise to Survive

 Following a turbulent 12 months for many industries in the UK, businesses are now looking to 2024 to plan for how they will invest within their digital capabilities to improve and grow their company.  Next year marks a turning point in many businesses’ digital transformation journey as many companies are coming to the realisation that there is no alternative. Businesses must digitise to survive.

Particularly across a range of industries, this is becoming more vital, such as pharmaceuticals and logistics and transports, companies must invest in new digital capabilities to reform their legacy systems to modernise and digitise their operations.

This is where asset management solutions and MDM software will play a stronger role within businesses next year. More companies, when investing in new digital technologies, are concerned about the longevity of the new devices they are deploying within their business. To save on costs, businesses are becoming more concerned about how long they can sweat their assets, and MDM software can offer increased insight into the status and operability of a device.

So, with more businesses becoming increasingly financially conscious next year, we will see an increase in the uptake of MDM solutions to manage asset lifespan, but also to evaluate pain points within a business’s digital asset estate to optimise device usage and downtime.


Immersing multi-functional devices into your business

With the onus now on businesses to ensure their assets last as long as possible, there has been a shift to focusing on multi-functional devices within companies. This focus is set to continue next year, with more importance set to be placed on multi-functional devices that can used for a variety of different business operations and have a significantly elongated lifespan.

One key change that more businesses are interested in is being able to use a mobile device as a desktop or laptop, allowing for increased productivity for remote and travelling employees. This shift to multi-functional devices is allowing businesses to save on both device costs and space, as there is no longer a need to have fixed desktop workstations within offices and warehouses. The ‘work from anywhere’ ethos has stuck across a range of industries following the pandemic, and now there is the shift to how can work from anywhere employees use one device for everything.

Embedding new multi-functional devices into the pre-existing business infrastructure will pose a challenge for businesses that are running their operations on legacy systems, so it is likely we will see an uptake in more businesses moving to more digital capabilities and deploying MDM solutions to manage their multi-functional devices.


Flexibility factor

Following the rise in multi-functional devices, this is coming more into play for the channel, retail and warehouse sectors as more companies are looking to transition from fixed point-of-sale (POS) devices to roaming handheld POS.

For a range of industries this will continue to transform productivity and efficiency, but also provide companies with an option to take advantage of multi-functional device capabilities. As a result, it is likely next year, these industries will see a shift away from fixed devices to flexible roaming mobile devices, capable of multiple tasks both in warehouses and shopfloors.

With the increased element of roaming devices comes an increased security risk, so it is likely that businesses will place further restrictions and security solutions on mobile devices next year. This will be so mobile assets can be managed, tracked, and secured when they are used inside and outside a company’s buildings.


Advancing to MDM systems

 Business strategies and operational plans will continue to change frequently next year in response to consumer demands, external influences and new technologies introduced within a business. But, the industry is set to experience a number of challenges next year, particularly for businesses still operating on Windows operating systems.

Businesses must be prepared to shift away from legacy systems that cannot accommodate the added security required for mobile devices within a business network. So, we will likely see businesses moving away from their previous legacy systems to newer Android-supported MDM systems. As a result, there will be a continued reliance on MDM solutions, not only from a tracking and device management point of view but also for security considerations to protect businesses and secure their devices from any potential security risks.

In 2024, businesses will need to remain perceptive when facing a variety of risks and challenges coupled with shifting away from legacy models, moving away from legacy models, advancing to MDM solutions and immersing multi-functional roaming POS devices.


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Wealth Management

Why asset management comms are samey and boring, and what you can do about it.




Tom Knox, Executive Partner at MullenLowe


In asset management standardised communications seem to be a given.

Our recent semiotic analysis (a science of signs that explores how they communicate and generate meaning) unearthed some fascinating insights into why the likes of UBS, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs present a homogenous face to the world. Partnering with the OI agency, we were keen to explore the reasons behind this homogenous approach, in order to better understand the impact it might be having.

There are powerful forces at play which combine to make communications in asset management deliberately boring. You could say it’s a conspiracy of consistency.

Reinforcement of trust is the primary objective of brand communications in this category, not least because the decision to invest large sums of money is predominantly influenced by direct customer experience and personal recommendation.

Framing trust as the main category asset

Put simply, these are four immutable narratives which all asset management players deploy as building blocks of trust.

  1. ‘We have big knowledge.’

In a category where knowledge is literally power, the absolute price of entry is the assertion of global intelligence into markets. This is what leads to the presentation in most communications of maps of the world, intelligent people huddled over computers and visualisations of vast reams of data.

  1. ‘We can control the future.’

The category world view is entirely quantitative. Intense mathematical abstraction is the way to assert control over the future. Surprise and chance are the enemy. This is what leads to the conservative conformity of art direction in the category; the neatly delineated systems and boxes, and the abstract language that turns wars into ‘volatility’ and businesses into ‘opportunities’.

  1. ‘We have a moral compass.’

The category has a standardised and rigid moral code in which ‘good’ is always equivalent to financial value and economic growth. Modern concepts of stewardship of the planet, inclusion and equal opportunity have recently been grafted onto the enduring notions of Protestant hard work and duty. This is not just about making people richer, there’s also a higher goal of shared wellbeing.

  1. ‘We enable middle class lives.’

The specific purpose of all of this wealth generation, and the summation of the category worldview, is in the common depiction of the end consumer. There is a remarkably narrow and consistent consensus on the kind of life that is enabled by financial security, manifested in clichéd depictions of middle-class life: the hand holding with young children, the sports, the college graduations and the holiday sunsets.

In summary, the message is always, “We know a ton of stuff, which stabilises reality and makes the future controllable. We’re governed by a sense of good. And we do all this in the name of enabling good, middle-class lives.”

Or, looked at through the lens of communications, “We have stripped out all drama, surprise and colour from life!”

Unsurprisingly, this has a stultifying effect on creativity and suppresses differentiation.

Let employee brand be your best asset

This presents asset management brand marketing teams – and their agencies – with a huge challenge. How do you differentiate in a market that inherently suspects mavericks and deviations from the norm?

The answer is to let employee brand be your champion. Determine what your organisation, clients and workforce truly values, the essence of the culture that has been created, and distil that into communications: brand personality, tone of voice and art direction.

The result is that your asset management company tells potential customers what kind of people they will be when choosing the brand. That way, brands can attract an audience by meaningfully distinguishing themselves without necessarily trashing category conventions. It’s the basis for deeper relationships with intermediaries, institutional investors and individual consumers.

BlackRock is a great example. With its “Investing for a new world” stance, the largest global fund manager takes a moral and ethical position on the whole economic sphere. The company describes the whole system of modern capitalism, takes an intellectual overview of it, and acts as a gateway to share the power with ordinary people. So, the customer is an ordinary person who wants power collected by BlackRock and made accessible to them.

Without the four building blocks which our study found the category so readily conforms to you’re not even at the table. But harness the values of your organisation and push them out via distinctive brand communications, and you can make your mark in the category without upsetting the asset management apple cart.

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