5 ways a digital workforce can transform insurance operations

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Investing in a new technology, especially one such as Intelligent Automation which has the potential to transform every department across a business, can be seen as a risk. There are many factors that could prevent it from being fully effective, from lack of confidence and buy-in from colleagues, to an inability to prove its value beyond the first wave of automated processes.

However, case studies show that if implemented with a strong strategy and operating model, RPA and intelligent automation can generate significant return on investment in the form of cost and time savings, as well as playing a role in digital transformation strategies.

In this article we cover five areas where intelligent automation can make a difference for an insurance organization. 

If you already use RPA, in each of these areas consider how much further upgrading to intelligent automation could take your business. It opens up the scope of tasks digital workers can perform, over and above simple structured processes, creating opportunities to make a real operational impact - reducing operating costs, improving the experience of customers and staff, and even helping to improve those all-important loss ratios.

Download our ebook: 5 innovative use cases for intelligent automation

Breaking down organisational silos

Typically, organisations are made up of multiple business units, with specialist teams and unique skill sets within each of those units. In most, if not all organisations, those skill sets aren't transferable between departments without some reskilling. One of the challenges they face is around the variation in workload across those functions. In December, for example, one team could be at their busiest while another has a low workload. But they can’t borrow staff from one function to help another, even when it’s handling back-office tasks. So how can they service spikes in demand? For most, it’s either bringing in temporary human resource or have existing teams work longer hours.

What we’ve found with early adopters of RPA, is that their automation set-up tends to replicate the inefficiency of a siloed human workforce. It meets the resourcing challenge, but as a binary function that is linked to individual processes within specific business units. Once that structure is in place it’s difficult to direct that automation resource to other areas of the business that need it.

A shared pool of digital workers with cross-functional capabilities breaks down these inefficiencies. It forms a workforce that can operate across all business functions from front office to back office with the ability to execute any process within those business units which it has been set up to perform. As important is the ability of the digital workforce size to flex up and down to align with changes in workload.

This is especially pertinent within insurance and claims organisations, where both planned and unplanned spikes in activity represent a significant challenge.

Easing internal pain points for a better customer experience

Retail insurance and claims providers are constantly looking for ways to reduce call times while providing a better service for customers.

One of the benefits of a digital workforce is being able to execute customer processes with machine speed and absolute accuracy.  This is fundamental to any insurance organisation that transacts with customers in either a retail or commercial setting.  Customer satisfaction is key to retention rates and an efficient contact centre is the key to reducing overheads.

Take an example of a contact centre handling new sales, mid-term adjustments or general customer enquiries and requests. Typically, the operators are using more than one system to search for and log customer data and generate quotes. They will spend time on the phone entering data into these systems, on tasks which are structured and follow a specific process. But the channels the customer uses to contact the company can be varied and involve unstructured data.

Updating customer contact details, generating MTAs, even logging new claims and handling FNOL – these are all tasks that can be handled by digital workers. Intelligent digital workers can open and extract relevant data from customer emails, forms or chatbots to trigger these same processes.  Automating these tasks empowers staff to do more with the time they have with customers that have more complex needs, or to take on outbound sales.

Data security and compliance

Accuracy also has an obvious compliance benefit. Business critical tasks which are under the gaze of the auditor, FCA or insurance bodies can be completed in a highly structured way and are fully auditable, minimising risk of exposure.

A digital workforce is also useful for data compliance and security. GDPR processes, for example, can be automated to eliminate human error and potentially costly mistakes. With a cloud SaaS platform such as Blue Prism Cloud, data always remains only within the client’s internal systems.  The digital workers interact with existing applications and systems in the same way a human would do, and one of the benefits is that there's no requirement for information to be held within the automation platform. Companies are reassured that their data is safeguarded and not stored outside of their organisations.

In heavily regulated industries such as insurance, many of the processes require approvals and validation at different stages. A process can be set up to be initiated by a human, picked up by a digital worker and then passed back to a human for validation or approval. This is termed human-in-the-loop and is simply another stage built into the process design.

Permissions can be set on who can and can’t initiate processes and who can give sign-off at the various stages. This capability means that an automated process can run between departments as well as within single functions.

Working to improve loss ratios with more accurate premiums and fraud prevention

One insurance provider that operates within the aggregator space had identified a need to access underwriting data in real time to ensure their quotes remained competitive but accurate and not missing crucial data. They were experiencing the impact of customers inputting inaccurate information such as omitting previous claims or penalty points from the quote and buy form, which either meant making changes mid-term and potentially losing business or causing problems at claim and causing the insurer to carry the 3rd party costs.

Digital Workers now access underwriting data for each request in real time by searching legacy platforms which are now publicly shared by all insurers. The data is used in the premium calculation initiated by aggregators or in quotes generated via their contact centre. Legacy policies can now also be checked. The impact will see more accurate premiums, reducing up front fraud but also reducing cost exposure on potential claims.

Working with legacy systems

For large, established insurance organisations, one of the biggest business challenges is often the use of multiple legacy technology applications that are slow to operate, and don’t automatically sync data. This can lead to slower onboarding, data analysis, claims fulfilment, invoicing and many more interoperability problems. These are all tasks that can be automated, with the digital worker operating between systems on behalf of the staff who would normally do that job, freeing them up to do other more value-adding work. It reduces the need for offshoring or outsourcing key aspects of the customer journey, providing cost savings and improved customer satisfaction.

These are just a few of the ways that insurance organizations can leverage the power of intelligent automation. For more detailed case studies, download our white paper: Five Innovative Intelligent Automation use cases to power up your business.

Authored by Blue Prism Cloud

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