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Author's profile photo Susan Galer

And the Winner Is: Integrated Software – new study shows U.S. insurance industry modernizing aging systems for better customer experience

Getting old isn’t easy but a majority of recently surveyed insurance executives believe that an integrated software platform could help rejuvenate everything at their companies from competitive differentiation to customer satisfaction. Over 200 executives primarily from the United States participated in the survey which was conducted by SAP at the IASA Annual Conference held earlier this month in Washington, D.C. One of the most recognized and best attended trade shows for the insurance industry, this year’s IASA conference brought together approximately 2,500 professionals for education and networking.

/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/smalllifepreserver_232366.jpgModernizing systems was top of mind for many of the attendees. Two-thirds of the survey respondents said that their company was dealing with the issue of aging legacy systems. As for a cure, 54 percent of respondents believed the best practice for managing core systems modernization was to find a trusted partner with an integrated solution platform. In contrast, just 23 percent of the respondents would consider preserving as much of the legacy systems as possible, and 23 percent would prefer replacing the legacy systems with an in-house build.

This doesn’t surprise Hugh Anderson, senior industry principal at SAP, who shared the following top three considerations for insurance companies as they embark on modernization.

“First, do you want to buy vs. build? As vendor packages become more complete and affordable, analysts agree that buy may be the better option. Second, look for a stable, integrated single platform that will keep TCO down but also evolve with your needs. Third, insist on technology that supports a seamless, digital real-time customer experience through the entire policy>billing>claims lifecycle. Do not focus just on internal functionality.”

Like every industry, digitization is empowering insurance customers as never before. At the same time, it’s a rapidly commoditizing business. Standing out from the crowd comes down to getting and staying close to customers. The survey results bear this out. Forty-three percent of insurance executives believed that advanced analytics for greater insight into the business, including predictive and fraud management, are essential for competitive differentiation. Mobile workflows and apps for employees, agents, and customers came in second at 22 percent, followed by delivering a single view of customer and creating a great customer experience across every touch point (19 percent).

Anderson summed up the situation like this. “Placing the customer experience at the center of the insurer’s technology strategy has become essential to compete. There is no margin for error or you lose that customer.” 

These surveyed executives revealed what top-performing companies from every sector have already figured out. Technology can be the surest path to customers if you’re willing to make investments that support strategic growth objectives and have a trusted long-term partner able to deliver innovations as fast as the business requires.

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