In the Accenture Technology Trends 2021 Report, a post-2020 reality is laid out. “More companies than ever have embraced the axiom that every business is a technology business,” despite the industry. The report further states that this realization has “ignited a new era of exponential transformation as technology continuously reshapes industries and the human experience. Now, as we begin shaping our post-pandemic reality, companies must learn to master change.”
Despite the race to scale in the TPA industry, one that has been growing since 2014, much of the focus around technology in the insurance industry remains on backend systems, which may drive some operational efficiencies but fall short in alluring tech-savvy customers.
In a separate 2021 Accenture report focused on the future of insurance, three key areas are highlighted where actions can be taken to address current trends:
- “Re-evaluate digital services with a generational lens”: Thought leaders in the space have pointed to the “clear differences in generational appetites for digital offers emerged” for some time now. The Accenture report calls for a review of digital strategy to support this growing shift.
- Personalization: Look to areas where personalization can be made to offer better value to end-users.
- “Restore trust with digital and human interaction”: Using the right mix of human and technology works to not restore or build trust, but leads to better engagement.
Recent studies and reports are showing that previous years’ findings still hold true, in that some of the biggest innovations in the insurance space are not the tools themselves, but “how they’re designed and used 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. In what Accenture calls the Digital Achievement Gap, we’re seeing that “digital leaders (the top 10 percent of companies leading technology innovation) achieve 2–3x revenue growth as compared to their competitors.”
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-centricity, on-demand availability, high-impact, and transparency.
An 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.
The increasing consumer demand for self-service access is continuing to expand into the B2B environment. Forrester has continued to state expansion of self-service as beneficial not only for customers but for the organization as well. 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.
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 the aptly titled article 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.)”
Given the barrage of news regarding technology-related business scandals in recent (and not so recent) years, trust in organizational partnerships is, increasingly, more challenging to earn. The key to earning that trust is transparency. As a PwC 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’s 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 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. Learn more about how Origami can help your TPA do that or start a conversation with us.