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NTT DATA on how the coronavirus has highlighted the value of technology for brokers

NTT DATA on how the coronavirus has highlighted the value of technology for brokers | Insurance Business UK

NTT DATA on how the coronavirus has highlighted the value of technology for brokers

When leading IT service firm, NTT DATA, first decided to create a report on the adoption of technology across the London market, it was determined that its focus would be on analysing where the best areas for investment might be and the application of technologies in these sectors. Then Lloyd’s announced the Future at Lloyd’s initiative, Matt Jarman (pictured), client partner at NTT DATA said, and the team realised that the market had already established where technology and change were going to be focused.

The direction of the report then shifted to evaluate the need for change within the market, he said, and research was carried out with senior leaders within the London market. The research revealed that two-thirds of the business leaders surveyed were concerned about being left behind by modernisation, but also that the same number of individuals agreed that innovation through technology is key to the success of their businesses in the future.

Business leaders are right to be concerned about modernisation, Jarman said, noting the interesting dichotomy he has found within the top levels of organisations where they have digital strategies and they know what technologies they need to adopt but they are seeing little actual benefit from.

“From our experience, the London market has historically under-invested in technology,” he said, “so trying to change the investment process and improve it while realising the benefits is a real challenge. And part of this challenge is getting the right advice at the right level within an organisation. What we’re finding is that there isn’t usually a technology champion at the board level and, as a result, the impetus and the drive for adopting new technologies aren’t coming in at the top of organisations but are being driven up from within.”

Within the London market there has always been an emphasis on face-to-face engagement, Jarman said, and technology has traditionally only been used to facilitate that process. The challenge in enabling this market to see the benefits of implementing digital innovation is having a wide enough approach to this implementation, he said, and generating an understanding that this is about people, processes and technology and enabling those three factors to work in a coordinated fashion that drives benefits.

“If you just drop technology on people, it never works,” he said. “You’ve got to understand the cultural change, and the processes that people are working with, and how technology is going to facilitate benefits for the organisation, whether it’s an improvement in efficiency, or better data enabling better decisions… Part of the challenge in the past has been that one or two of those three things have been addressed and, as a result, people have struggled to realise the benefit.”

The recent coronavirus outbreak has really highlighted the capacity of technology to facilitate brokerages and broking, not just within the London market but also throughout the regions, Jarman stated. One core effect of the virus has been that it has prevented the face-to-face interactions so valued by the current broking model, he said, and many brokers are going through a very rapid adoption of technology processes at this time.

“I wonder how many of these new working processes will become embedded within companies,” Jarman said. “In the intervening months after the current isolation, how many people will say ‘thank goodness we don’t have to use that anymore and we can go back to doing what we were doing before’?“

It is going to be interesting to see where the cards fall on this, he said, and he believes there will be several newly implemented working practices which companies may embrace to maintain the level of business that they were not expecting during this time. With benefits such as the reduction in costs of people travelling across the country and the opportunity to find new ways to interact with customers, the question of how insurance operations will be impacted in the long-term, post coronavirus recovery, is one that NTT DATA will be following closely.