As insurance companies continue to deal with a shortage of talent, David Hampton, CEO of BAIS insurance technology has a ruthless sounding idea that can help.
“Automate and eliminate processes and resources that don’t add any value to your business,” he said.
Hampton argued that even a small productivity gain can have a significant impact and may overcome the need to find new staff.
“Investing in the right technology should help you to reduce the need to have as many people doing unnecessary admin in your business,” said Hampton.
The CEO said optimizing processes and technology, like quoting and binding, can also win time and cut back on wastage.
“With the current talent crunch this means rather than reducing headcount you can free your existing people up to spend more time focusing on your clients,” he said.
Hampton said he is “constantly amazed” at the amount of double keying of data in the insurance industry.
“We’ve come across customers that enter the same data up to three times: Once in their spreadsheet which helps them quote, a second time into an automated trading platform and then finally, into their policy admin platform,” he said.
Hampton said there needs to be what he called a golden record, or a single, trusted, and shareable copy, that is entered once and is available for all the key business processes and reporting.
Spreadsheets in their current, cumbersome form, he said, can be dispensed with.
“Spreadsheets are evil things as they are just temporary solutions. At BAIS, we’ve not found a rating spreadsheet that we couldn’t decipher and automate,” he said.
The tech expert also took aim at automated methods for bordereau reporting. These are reports from insurance companies to reinsurers listing the assets covered or the claims paid. Hampton said bordereau preparation is becoming increasingly difficult because of the data requirements set out by Lloyd’s and other underwriters.
“Most often these reports are prepared monthly and often involve some hair tearing moments as businesses struggle to get the data prepared in the first place and then to get it to reconcile,” he said.
Hampton said “any decent system” should be able to produce these complex reports at “the flick of a switch.”
He explained that his idea of such a system would offer full end-to-end processing with direct interfaces to all the company’s required trading platforms.
“Some customers with commoditised services demand consumer or intermediary portals whereby all the data entry, binding, validation and payment is done by the platform, meaning that the only person who has touched the process is normally the insured or their broker,” he added.
Hampton said his system – called iBAIS – offers this full capability at both the front-end and the back-end and has provided it to insurance companies.
“We have a number of clients that have full end-to-end automation. The risk is entered, quoted, bound, and then finalised all without the need for additional human hands to touch it - other than the insured or their broker,” he said.
Hampton referred to one customer who services more than 35,000 brokers.
“The platform has incredible capacity to service all these requirements without the need for any extra staff. The processes are lean and mean, allowing greater focus on the bottom line and provide the insured and brokers with a seamless, refined and dependable process,” he said.
Hampton said some clients have reported productivity gains of up to 30% by implementing intelligent, automated, end-to-end solutions.
From an industry wide perspective, even much smaller efficiency gains across the insurance broking industry would make a difference. In 2020, Deloitte reported that the economic value of insurance broking in Australia was pushing $27 billion – so even a 10% efficiency gain would be very significant.
“Just think how much time your team would have to focus on their clients if you didn’t have to spend so much time entering and re-entering data into your systems. It may even solve your talent shortage,” said Hampton.
The shortage of talent across the insurance industry is well documented. Recruiters have told Insurance Business about the difficulties finding qualified staff for many industry positions, especially in IT. Last year Gallagher Bassett (GB) released research warning of an “overwhelming talent gap”.
In March, Jon Winsbury, GB’s global executive vice president, who runs the firm’s international division from Brisbane, said inflation is starting to impact salaries and insurance companies are moving staff across their business to deal with talent scarcities.