The following is part of the monthly column series written by the Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA) for Insurance Business. This month’s column is provided by Gary Humphreys, group underwriting director, Markerstudy, and board director of the MGAA.
I read with interest Peter Staddon’s article ‘Learning on the fly’ last month, and his comments relating to insurtech and delivering a product that the customer wants to buy. I’d like to explore this a little further and relate it to my experience.
To achieve any ambitious growth plans, an organisation must be prepared to embrace insurtech, and whether partnering with a third-party specialist or developing in-house, budget, resource and available skills are all important factors. Improvements in technology, rating, underwriting and demand for price optimisation are revolutionising the way that insurance quotes are generated for customers. In simple terms, a rating engine can organise quote data from broker partners, aggregators, and broker software houses, enrich this data from numerous sources (ID validation, credit information and counter fraud), and provide an efficient and accurate rating service.
Our broker partners are seeking simplicity and clarity in the market, and we MGAs must respond. One solution could be to combine and incorporate numerous existing products to provide one scheme, with the most competitive rate, meaning one common policy wording with aligned commission, excesses and endorsements.
Ultimately, we all recognise that time is our enemy, so the most notable improvement must be our flexibility and the potential to get new rates to market in seconds, rather than days.
On our wish list should be a single view of the customer and the capability to analyse their end to end journey from quote to claim, including declined business. I’d like to see a decrease in the response time to quote and a reduction in duplicate request volumes – which would add up to a few million less quotes a day to process!
The use of intuitive rating engines is just one example of how we can realise innovative new time and labour-saving technology, another is robotics. RPA (Robotic Process Automation) tools are designed to mimic the same ‘manual’ activities undertaken by an employee using computer software, to perform a specific business process. The process is mapped and the RPA software ‘robot’ mimics this via a computer. This works best for repetitive tasks so by getting this configuration correctly, the RPA software can work in place of a human by triggering processes automatically or populating data between systems or locations, documenting audit trails, conducting calculations, performing specific actions, or even triggering downstream events.
I’m following the use of RPA to automate what can be repetitive and unfulfilling tasks. Releasing people to focus on activities that are more rewarding and add greater value to our business is an attractive proposition.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another exciting prospect for us all; having the ability to investigate price optimisation and to continually refine and optimise pricing using data and machine learning algorithms is very attractive.
I think we owe it to our customers to understand better their wants and needs, in order to become more targeted in our approach. By investing, researching and assessing what works for us, our partners and customers, we’re adapting and responding to change. I’ll end with the words of Bill Gates: “Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react and reinvent.”