Last month, Carrier Management said that some insurers expect to spend more on insurance technology in 2017. But at 37 percent, they're in the minority. They're also running below a multi-industry average. While 45 percent of other businesses plan to spend more on IT this year, many insurers – 24 percent to be exact – say their IT spending may go down or stay static over the coming year, Carrier Management reported. In other industries, only 22 percent expect to see the same.
These signs point to a deficiency in digital strategy. True to tradition, insurers are lagging here.
But that doesn't mean they don't want to improve. Carrier Management said insurers score higher than the multi-industry average in wanting to develop innovative new products and deliver business intelligence and analytics. They're "more likely to implement agile methodologies and DevOps," and they "plan to spend close to the all-industry average on laaS and PaaS cloud services."
The question, then, is how to close the gap between where the industry is now, and where we want to be.
How to improve your digital strategy in 2017
George Skaff at Property Casualty 360 named 11 insurance technology tactics that you can put into play this year to bring your business up to speed, digitally. The list includes:
Online account management
Conversational interactive voice response
Social customer service
Live, personal help
A forward-leaning posture on tech
First, let's talk about chat. There are three different forms of chat plus virtual assistance on Skaff's list. At a time when many customers prefer to self-educate before making a purchase, and in an industry notorious for its complexity, live chat can make a significant difference in conversions, to the tune of 10-30 percent, according to chat software professional Szymon Klimczak.
For similar reasons, a virtual assistant (via an insurance chatbot) is also a good idea. GEICO would seem to agree, having just introduced its customers to Kate – the virtual assistant that churns out smart answers to random questions.
Online account management is a given. A minimum standard of companies in most industries. You won’t necessarily stand out by offering it, but you will certainly stand out (in a negative way) if you don’t.
Ultimately, the tactics that a given insurer should adopt this year are sure to vary depending on what your digital strategy looks like now, and how you'd like it to look. It's the "digital strategy" part that matters most. Are your tech goals keeping pace with other industries? Do you have a road map to achieve them?
Bottom line, when Skaff made "Embrace technology" the number-one priority on his list, it wasn't an accident. Our goal at Silvervine is to help you do just that. Find out how we can support your digital strategy in 2017 and download our “Five Mobile Game Changers” report now. Also, check out our new chatbot capability, now available with Silvervine Software packages.
The FedNat Insured Web is a great tool for our insureds!
They like having a centralized location to view policy info, make payments, upload policy documents, and elect to become paperless to receive a discount.
The insureds also can file a First Notice of Loss for a claim and access exiting claim info. Silvervine recently enhanced the site which allows insureds to upload policy documents directly to their policy. The uploaded docs go directly into our workflows and save a lot of manual effort on our part.
From my visits with agents, the agents appreciate the app for the amount of time saved on having to download and attach photos directly to the policy.
The app can also reduce the amount of staff required for a busy office to fulfill underwriting requests for photos.
When training agents they are amazed at how quickly the photos attach directly to the policy. After taking photos using the app and before they make it back to their desk, the photo is already attached to the policy. They also like the ability to attach additional photos for pre-existing damage.
Customer Service is seeing an improvement with retention as the text message definitely triggers phone calls from insureds to make payments.
The insureds love the fact that we notify them on their phones because they state that sometimes they don’t receive their mail for various reasons.
The insureds are paying more attention to the texts then to their actual mail. We try to set all of our customers up on that option if we notice that they are not currently enrolled, as it builds great customer relations as well as retention.
As a company we have adopted the use of Policy Scan for all our policies, and our agents have adopted the use of the app as well.
Not only is it easy to use, there is also no more worrying about losing photos, having to store photos or photos being attached to the wrong policy.
With Policy Scan we have increased efficiency in our workflow and reduced our exposure on the risk.
Silvervine’s core administration solutions easily handles multiple carriers within multiple states, including accounting, payment processing, immediate policy issuance and endorsements.
What started out writing one product, one line in one state has now grown into mulitple products, multiple lines and writing in multiple states. We have over $95 million in annualized premium in-force and we expect to grow by 20% during the next year all serviced by Silvervine.
Silvervine was our insurance software system of choice when we started the company in 2006. Silvervine enabled us to begin business within a few months of licensing the company. Today, we are one of the top 20 homeowner’s writers in Texas and SIlvervine’s solutions have been an integral part of our success.