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(Reprinted from the Digitalist Magazine)

Technology, data, and analytics are hot topics in just about every industry these days. However, by all accounts the insurance industry has been slow to embrace the practices and processes of analytics, telematics, and Big Data. While a few frontrunners such as Progressive and Allianz are reaping the benefits of their digital initiatives, other insurers need to follow their lead and seize the opportunity to gather, process, and analyze the actions and behaviors of their customers by implementing technology that makes business more efficient.

The benefits of adopting an enterprise-wide comprehensive insurance technology platform that streamlines core insurance operations are clear. To be sure, there are challenges to redesigning insurance processes and products for the digital age. However, using tech to create an integrated and complete claims management process, simplify policy administration, and efficiently monitor regulatory compliance has proven to be successful. For example, SAP for insurance shows a 44% decrease in audit costs in firms that streamline financial compliance processes.

Know your customer

Insurance sales, often still a face-to-face process, have been one of the slowest areas to adopt the benefits of technology. But modernization need not be at the expense of tradition. Insurance technology allows companies to provide a consistent customer experience across new and multiple channels, matching consumers in their new shopping and purchasing behaviors. In addition, it offers a new level of customer intimacy with access to real-time customer data, enabling companies to more quickly and efficiently uncover and respond to customer trends and buying patterns.

Offer a better customer experience

It’s no secret that the trend is for customers to interact with their insurance companies less often and preferably via the Internet. For that reason, customer-centric insurers who creatively engage with consumers online are pulling ahead of the competition. Even for face-to-face encounters, improving the overall customer experience with accurate and up-to-date data and information is the best way to ensure the success of the sales force.

Maximize your data usage

One of the fastest-emerging gateways to new forms of customer data and behavioral information involves the Internet of Things. Small devices attached to vehicles, embedded in home appliances, and other sensors found in consumer products are gathering data and are set to transform the way everyone does business. Insurers now have new ways to collect data, assess risk, and therefore create new product offerings in tune with current market data. Insurers that have cultivated the systems and processes to gather, analyze and use this copious amount of new data will be one step ahead. Businesses that are listening to the buzz and investing now for the future will be the ones reaping the benefits of the new opportunities that come with the changing landscape.

The insurance industry is on the brink of change and it is time to embrace the future or be left behind. The key is using technology to enable the customer-centric insurer to drive the sales and service of innovative products and cut costs, while staying compliant. Learn how SAP can help here.

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