TPA Tech Guide #1: Gaining a competitive edge

In the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 Report, nearly 9 out of 10 respondents stated, “their organizations must innovate at an increasingly rapid pace just to keep a competitive edge.” Despite this technological arms race among TPAs, much of the focus remains on backend systems, which may drive some operational efficiencies but fall short in alluring tech savvy customers.

The Accenture report offers an explanation for this struggle. “The biggest innovations in insurance over the next three years will not be in the technology tools themselves, but in how we design them with employees, customers, intermediaries and other human partners in mind.” The design of your customer-facing technology must be easy to use and impactful in order to satisfy the demand for actionable intelligence which drives business outcomes. The insight gained from these technologies provides long term value and creates a stickier relationship.

The tools you choose can lead to faster adoption and immediately become part of your customer’s ecosystem. What your systems enable them to do will play a fundamental role in differentiating your services from the competition. The Accenture report states that 3 out of 4 respondents believe that their competitive advantage will rely on the strength of their technology partners and the ecosystems they choose. Enhanced customer facing technology is the front line in the battle for today’s tech savvy prospect. What does it take to win that battle?

Customer facing factors that provide a competitive advantage

Four factors should be considered when turning customer facing systems into a competitive advantage.

Customer-centric

A recent Informatica article about digital transformation in the insurance industry highlights the importance of adopting a customer-centric focus. “The Millennial generation have higher expectations of providers including omni-channel access, real-time processing and mobile everything; whereas Insurance very often works at a much different pace and in a different way.” This means browser-agnostic and mobile-friendly access to key data and visualizations. But that is only part of the answer.

Each customer has a unique set of challenges and concerns. The ability to provide boutique services with flexible technology rather than the traditional one size fits all approach further strengthens long term servicing relationships. However, if the system cannot easily accommodate tailoring the customer facing portions to meet the specific needs of individual clients, this type of customer-centric approach can be difficult to achieve. This means that flexibility is a primary concern when considering the customer-centric factor.

On-Demand Availability

As we pointed out in our Trends That Will Shape 2018 post, the increasing consumer demand for self-service access is expanding into the B2B environment. Forrester listed expansion of self-service as one of the top trends for 2017. For TPAs this means providing customers 24/7 direct access to their own data. On-demand access, however, is only the beginning.

Automating data driven alerts, notifications, dashboards, and report production pushes the right data into the right hands at the right time. In this way, your system not only provides direct access to key data, but also delivers it when it can have the most impact. Helping clients sort through the noise of a typical business day and prioritize what actually matters is a differentiator.

High-Impact

To win more clients, TPAs are increasingly expected to move beyond traditional claims system functionality. Policy management, ERM, exposure values collection, safety information, and return to work calculations, are all examples of functionality that can help clients lower their Total Cost of Risk. Extending this even further, some systems allow for importing claims and record types from other sources to support customer renewals and actuarial analysis. Offering those types of services directly impacts a customer’s bottom line and changes the entire value proposition of your organization.

While one can argue with the fairness of adding this burden to TPAs already fighting to maximize the efficiency of every resource they currently command, there is no denying the push by premier customers for these services. As a recent article aptly titled The Transformation of the TPA puts it: “During this restructuring, TPAs have taken on the additional responsibility of managing risk and overseeing the claims processes. And despite the magnitude of these responsibilities, they’ve been expected to handle it all, juggling existing tasks while keeping an eye on potential claims fraud, lowering settlement costs, increasing efficiencies and more. (No pressure, TPAs.)”

Transparent

Given the barrage of news regarding technology-related business scandals, trust in organizational partnerships is, increasingly, more challenging to earn. The key to earning that trust is transparency. As the PwC 2018 Global Investor Survey showed, 4 of the 7 top investor concerns involved transparency.

Your customer facing interface can provide greater transparency into your operations, earning trust from the customers who guard it most carefully.

Origami Risk as a Customer Facing Technology

Origami Risk online portals offer the ability to build an external webpage that is tailored specifically for your clients, with the ability for your team to administer the content, branding, layout of the screens, as well as specify which types of information will be available (i.e. claims, policies, dashboards, reports, etc.). The highly flexible nature of Origami Risk means that not only can your organization easily set up custom reports and dashboards that demonstrate your value add, your clients can also set up their own automated notifications and reports that deliver timely information in a format they choose. Provide the 24/7 self-service access savvy customers demand, while freeing up your staff from having to respond to one-off requests for information.

Technology remains a key factor in the procurement process. Not all technology, however, will help win that next prospect. Attract and retain more clients by empowering your customers with cutting edge self service capabilities. The question they will ask is “by picking you, can they do more?” Leverage modern client facing technology to quickly differentiate your services from the rest.


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