By Kobus Wentzel, Executive Head of Sales and Distribution at 1Life
Digitalisation is everywhere and we can no longer choose to ignore it. Today we are seeing more customers embracing digitisation faster than ever, which requires less personal contact but still demands immediate feedback, enhanced product offerings and value. 2020 presented interesting times for the insurance industry when it comes to technology adoption and 2021 must be the year insurers turn change into opportunity – especially regarding digital platforms.
In 2021, the ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality will hopefully finally put out to pasture. Insurers must offer personalised, relevant products and services with convenient underwriting processes, remote acceptance security and quick claims processing – in a way that makes sense to the customers life stage and budget.
So, what should insurers wanting to succeed well into the new digitised South Africa examine as critical points of reference for its existing and potential customers?
1. Simplified digitised sales processes
Simplified and convenient sales processes that speak to financial needs analysis and outcome in real-time. Financial advisers will need to tap into digital solutions, providing simpler, convenient parameter-driven underwriting processes, all paperless and on a digital platform. Customers expect efficient service, with enhanced expertise and personalised value – that digital platforms and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can deliver.
2. Intelligent underwriting
AI has transformed the traditional way underwriting. Intelligent underwriting built within the policy engine ensures that the insurance application process is convenient and uniquely aligned to the needs of the client. This generates a premium suited to the client’s affordability and life stage, while providing real, personalised policies and financial protection. Automated underwriting systems must be invested in enable the more dynamic and efficient processes digitisation now demands.
3. Remote acceptance and self-servicing platforms
The world has changed and people more often than not, expect remote, time saving processes and so offering real safety and security for clients signing-up a new policy, in the comfort of their own home through a One-Time-Pin (OTP) verification for example, is the norm. Financial institutions have been doing this for years, and insurers must do the same. The personalised aspect can be kept, with financial advisors urged to make use of remote interaction processes to bring both technology and human touch into collaboration for the best, most efficient outcome.
Self-servicing platforms are also key for policyholders, not only to quickly and safely update their own details and existing products as necessary, but also for insurers to provide a communication and education platform, especially for clients without an advisor for example.
4. Relevant products and solutions
Now more than ever, products and benefits offered to customers need to be relevant, easy to understand and tailored to the clients life stage need, as well as affordability. Simplified T&C’s and Disclosure policies must be in place. Customers want a proactive approach from insurers as to what they need to do (throughout the policy lifecycle) to ensure 100% compliance and no surprises down the line. This simplification should include exact pay-out processes and restrictions – if any.
5. Claims Processing
Real-time claims processing is fundamental. The industry is looking to build digital ecosystems to increase cost effectiveness, settle claims fast, as well as provide the simplest, and most customer-centric process. Allowing for faster, more convenient claims handling and possibly even self-service settlement - analytics from data collected through the entire claims process will improve post-claims file reviews.
In conclusion, the more we see insurers direct their business objectives towards the enablement of human-tech collaboration, being agile and evolving business models to incorporate digital functionality – the more dynamic our industry will evolve to be, in the shortest timeframe. Here’s to a 2021 where we turn change into opportunity – for all stakeholders, especially the policyholder.