Oliver Werneyer, CEO & Founder, Imburse
Insurers need to embrace digital transformation to stay relevant. Customers nowadays are well-informed and expect user-friendly experiences and smart solutions that meet their needs. They are also more demanding than ever, so being able to gain their attention and trust is key to boosting customer loyalty and guaranteeing sales. Delivering an excellent omnichannel customer experience is only possible through the adoption of technology and the optimisation of processes.
Insurers have been facing the pressure to digitalise for a few years now, and it continues to increase. Technology is here to stay, and customers are likely to continue using it for their everyday tasks. The traditional insurance industry as we know it is undergoing a disruptive evolution, driven by customer demand and the rising competitiveness of the industry. To be customer-driven, however, insurers need to place focus on improving customer experience from end to end. This goes from the moment that customers are searching for policies online, to the moment customers file a claim and expect a quick and seamless reimbursement process.
This may not be news to insurers, who are well-aware of the need to embrace a digital transformation journey. However, they are faced with challenges that make it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to compete with newer, innovative companies that place the customer at the centre of their business proposition. For instance, when it comes to payments, insurers must be able to integrate with various payment providers and technologies so they can offer their customers a wide variety of payment methods, as well as the payment methods that best suit their unique needs.
While some customers may prefer to receive a voucher for their favourite shop, others may be happy with a bank transfer or a push-to-card payment. Being able to meet customers’ individual needs is crucial to gaining their loyalty, and even more important now that hyper-personalization has become so popular across industries. Integrating with various providers is a complex process, mostly due to insurers relying on old and outdated IT systems that power their entire operations.
These integrations are incredibly time-consuming and expensive and require a lot of internal resources. Insurers don’t typically have these resources available, because they don’t have a dedicated payments team nor the in-house expertise to leverage payments. Equally, the length of these integrations makes it difficult to swiftly adapt to continuous market changes. Speed and flexibility are crucial elements of success and elements that most insurers don’t have.
These challenges can only be solved through partnerships. Thankfully, the Insurtech market is packed with innovative solutions that can enable insurers to solve their most pressing problems. Such companies, for instance, enable end-to-end connectivity to the whole payments world. This means that insurers are able to connect to any payment provider or technology they want, in any market, for both collections and payouts.
Instead of having to deal with lengthy and cumbersome integrations processes, insurers can focus on other key business areas while solutions like Imburse take care of all the heavy lifting. Another key element that insurers must consider outsourcing is expertise. Payments is a niche area and, while crucial to the success of the business, it isn’t considered a core department. Being able to access agnostic payment experts that help insurers navigate the payments world and make the best business decisions is a stepping stone for the successful optimisation of payment operations.
Some of the benefits of embracing digitalisation for insurers include streamlining customer experience and ensuring that customers go through a seamless and quick journey from beginning to end. According to PwC, 80 percent of companies are now investing in omnichannel experiences, powered by the need to ensure customer retention and satisfaction. Customers expect everything to be instantaneous, whether that is finding the most suitable policy for them, making a claim or receiving a payment. Digital insurance makes it possible for insurers to meet and exceed their customer’s expectations, and boost retention and satisfaction. Digitalisation also enables insurers to reduce costs. According to a McKinsey report, automation can reduce claims costs by as much as 30 percent. Insurers can improve their underwriting processes, improve speed to market and generate new revenue streams by, for instance, adopting embedded insurance and partnering with other companies. This will boost sales conversions and lower the costs of distribution.
Large incumbents can more than double profits over 5 years just through digitalisation (McKinsey). These benefits are both in the short and long-term. In the long run, having future-proof systems and processes in place will enable insurers to continue to adapt as the market changes – and it will change. Being able to have this flexibility will prove invaluable.
About the author
Oliver Werneyer is the founder and CEO of Imburse. Oliver spends most of his time overseeing the overall operations of the company, but with a strong focus on powering international growth. Before founding Imburse, Oliver held various roles in the insurance industry, with the likes of Liberty Life, Swiss Re and Genworth. He also founded Flynrate, an innovative flight tracking and flight delay insurance app, and became a leading member of London’s startup ecosystem, sharing his industry knowledge and passion for entrepreneurship with London-based startups.