Modernization in a disrupted industry - Pega insurance modernization

Published: April 11, 2018

The insurance industry is facing rapid change, competing priorities, and a brittle and costly legacy.  Agent-heavy firms are least likely to explore digital opportunities, as their familiar hunting-grounds degenerate into commoditized markets. Insurers must embark on a transformation journey by leveraging their legacy investments to create an agile enterprise and focus on omni-channel customer experience and customer intimacy with goals to acquire, service, and retain. The provocation of this urgent need to transform is threefold:

  1. Tempo for change: Fickle regulators, changing distribution models, sharing trends, innovations, and disruptive technology make agility essential.
  2. Tension of competing priorities: Widespread adoption of InsureTech point solutions has created disaggregation and functional silos among the insurance value chain, but at the same time focus has shifted away from product-centric to customer-centric objectives. Still, visibility of the customer is obscured by the disaggregated value chain. There's a growing chasm between digital insurance leaders and the laggards.
  3. Costly legacy: Significant money was spent implementing policy administration systems with great promise and expectation. Quickly it became apparent that customizations and additional dependent products were required to meet functional demand. Exponential investments have been required to continue to tweak and support an aging, very brittle legacy. Some insurers maintain a $100MM per annum support budget for their monolithic all-in policy administration systems. This is directly traceable to the customizations made to these applications.

These market conditions compel insurers to shift left. The focus must shift left from the back office to the front office in response to these pervasive conditions to meet several key objectives:

  1. Effective business acquisition: Increase market share and profitability within key customer segments that are aligned with insurer product set and risk appetite by providing highly personalized offers through a coordinated multi-channel customer buying experience
  2. Increase policyholder retention: Increase desired account retention results (measured by profitability) through coordinated and proactive conservation programs including personalized engagement and customized offers
  3. Expand cross-sell/up-sell: Expand customer insurance product consumption and share of wallet (measured by products per household/ business) through targeted campaign management and digital product placement (social and co-branding)
  4. Enhance sales channel effectiveness: Improve lead/contact conversion rates and decrease acquisition costs by providing opportunity prioritization, superior sales automation capabilities, and best offer/product configuration solutions
  5. Enable superior underwriting performance: Optimize the underwriting cycle from pre-submission to binding by utilizing end-to-end workflow automation and sophisticated submission prioritization capabilities
  6. Create outstanding customer engagement: Provide insight into customer needs to power positive interactions that develop long-term relationships. Use this insight to proactively expand customer engagement touchpoints and reinforce through superior digital interaction capabilities
  7. Deliver operational excellence: Deliver solutions that enhance the quality and timeliness of applications that deliver as per customer expectations (service request, policy change, and loss reporting)

Insurers need to address these strategic imperatives in a way that will scale with flexibility and sustainability. The acquisition and constant tweaking of a monolithic policy administration system is not the answer. As a matter of fact, that approach perpetuates the problem because if you purchase a solution that solves all your problems as long as you just tweak these 10 minor things, eventually those minor things will become significant enough to find a replacement. The objective should certainly be to extend the life of existing policy administration investments and to potentially replace legacy enterprises and improve operations and customer service. This can be done with the adoption of a pace layering strategy This approach essentially creates a taxonomy of processes and capabilities to liberate business process and customer interactions from the confines of some software vendor's vision of how insurance ought to function.

Adopting a pace-layered strategy decouples processes and business rules from underlying applications. Business and IT can work together to RAPIDLY define, configure, maintain, and tune insurance business processes and rules in 'Systems of Differentiation' decoupled from 'Systems of Record' such as existing policy, claims, underwriting, and additional network applications and systems (e.g. DuckCreek, Guidewire, SAP, Seibel) to protect the aging investment or depreciate elements of the legacy. And to keep pace with disruption in the industry, more agile capabilities can be expressed in 'Systems of Innovation'.

We have identified Pega Digital Process Automation (DPA) as the most comprehensive enabler of these 'Systems of Differentiation' and 'Systems of Innovation'. Pega's robust blend of process automation, decision analytics, and robotic automation will enable insurers to most effectively shift left by throttling submissions with straight-through-process, decision automation, and cognitive robotic digital workforce.

Pega DPA is uniquely positioned to deliver these strategies and move the focus to an adaptive customer-centric front office through increased back office automation.

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