Digital transformation at a critical moment for insurers

Outsystems’ Leonard Tan talks to Insurance Business on adapting to the pandemic’s new normal

Digital transformation at a critical moment for insurers


By Gabriel Olano

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world vastly, with many organisations’ having to overhaul their business models amid numerous restrictions. Leonard Tan, country manager for Singapore at Outsystems, was recently on the Insurance Business Talk podcast and shared how insurers can undergo accelerated digital transformation in the volatile pandemic environment.

Tan (pictured), said the changes seen in the past year are larger in scale than the changes that happened in the past 10 to 15 years combined. For the insurance industry, one of the largest impacts was sales agents could no longer have face-to-face meetings with clients. This, he said, has forced insurers to “relook, rethink and re-strategize” their business models.

“Insurers are literally on the brink of disrupt or be disrupted,” Tan said. “These two concepts are exactly what most insurance companies face today – with the rise of insurtech companies that provide affordable yet seamless experiences in buying insurance plans, this forces the traditional insurance companies to challenge the very foundation of their value proposition.”

Coupled with the new normal caused by COVID, Tan stressed that insurers no longer have the luxury to hit the snooze button on digital transformation.

However, one challenge Tan often encounters, including with insurance clients, is that many of them are afraid to replace their legacy systems and embrace change.

He identified two major areas where insurers need to implement digital transformation – redesigning the customer experience and workplace innovation.

“Customers today expect an effortless experience,” Tan said regarding the former. “They no longer compare you with just your competitors but they are comparing you to the best service they can ever have from anyone.”

Meanwhile, insurers also need to adjust to a post-pandemic workplace and provide their employees with everything they need to service clients effectively from their home office. These, Tan said, include technologies such digital customer identification, e-signatures and tools for digital advice.

Being able to implement these, Tan said, goes beyond simply buying a product or solution and expecting it to work. Instead, it requires deep change in the organisation.

“Deep change draws down to the cultural level of how organisation looks at digitisation,” he said. “People will need to adapt to agile work, or how to develop something quickly being a part of their process.

“There’s no one right formula – it’s about going down to understand each individual business’ pain points and derive a plan that matches their needs.”

Tan also talked about his experiences as a young executive, drawing from his time as an overseas student at Boston University and as an artillery officer and instructor in the Singapore Armed Forces in the podcast that can be found here.

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