The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will leave a lasting impact on Australia’s insurance industry – and, according to Stephen Browne, vice president and country manager for insurtech firm Xceedance, the “new normal” created by the crisis is forcing insurers to rethink how they operate and review the products they offer if they want to stay competitive.
According to Browne, one way for insurers to stay competitive is by improving their customers’ experience with more personalised interactions. While leading insurers are already sharpening their focus on customer service, recognising that many commercial and personal lines customers need additional support because of the pandemic, Browne said that the competitive advantage lies in “more proactive, intelligent, and contextualised communications delivered through policyholders’ preferred channels.”
“Modern technologies better empower insurers with real-time, accurate data to deliver more meaningful client interactions,” said Browne. “Artificial intelligence - such as cognitive technologies, machine learning, chatbots, and virtual assistants - are becoming accepted, as call centre wait times increase because many have returned onshore.”
Another way for insurers to improve their competitiveness is by making their claims processes seamless by leveraging emerging technologies and new business models, such as parametric insurance. Automation and machine-learning algorithms can also help insurers estimate claims costs accurately and set appropriate claims reserves, which Browne said will ultimately provide confidence for policyholders.
Finally, Browne said that insurers should use tech tools that empower employees to feel “connected to their organisations” and frees them to concentrate on customer service and operational improvements.
“Focusing on the three issues I’ve outlined, and using technology to achieve them, can make a big difference to how insurers can operate successfully in this totally new environment,” said Browne.