How Insurance Companies Can Start Tackling Digital Transformation Through Data Capture

August 10, 2017

4 minute read

Do you have a digital transformation strategy for your insurance company? If so, congratulations: you’re in the minority. Research from EY shows that 79% of insurance companies are either “not setting” the baseline for digital transformation in their organizations, or are “still learning”... 

...But wait a second. It’s 2017. Self-driving cars are on the roads, and we’ve sent a rocket to Mars. How is it possible that insurance companies still don’t know what kind of data they have?

Although insurance has long been known as a traditional industry, that can no longer be an excuse for lagging behind in the technology game. If you’re one of that 79 percent, it’s time to start thinking about digital transformation in your organization. Clients expect convenience, especially if you’re trying to appeal to a modern, millennial clientele - or just anyone who’s sick of the current (and antiquated) document-centric approach. 

So, what does this mean for your organization? It’s clear that the old ways of doing things just won’t cut it anymore (surprise, surprise). Instead, it’s crucial to start digitizing files and using the data you have available, rather than storing it in enterprise content management (ECM) systems that never see the light of day. 

But don’t worry, there’s still (digital) light at the end of the tunnel. “The Making Of The Digital Insurer”, a study by McKinsey & Company, outlined the six critical facets of digital transformation that insurance companies need to focus on if they want to keep up with the competition: technology, digital analytics and data mining, strategy, customer-centricity, digitizing business processes, and organizing for digital. 

Feeling overwhelmed? No need to worry. In beginning by focusing on making your data useable and applicable to every business process, your insurance agency is well on its way to becoming a fully digital organization. 

Considering the customer’s point of view

Imagine how your customers would feel if they received an email letting them know when their claim had been received--or could even submit one online. Customer experience isn’t just about fancy things like getting drones to take photos of claim sites-- it’s about ensuring your customers are happy with the service they’re getting, from the simplest activities onwards. 

The world is moving towards a self-service model (think online shopping and grocery store self-checkouts), and it won’t be long before it will be mandatory from the consumer’s point of view that insurers do the same. This means that, If you don’t have processes such as online claims processing in place, it’s past time to start considering how they can be implemented. 

It’s also important to use your existing data to create a smoother customer experience throughout the process by considering which procedures have been flagged as major pain points, and focusing on them first to ensure customer satisfaction. 

Moving towards big data

However, what can you do if you can’t even see what’s in your data? One of the biggest shifts in recent years is the shift away from paper-based documents to digitally based content. Rather than relying solely on paper forms--with the occasional scanned TIFF file to mix things up--insurance companies are now moving towards electronic-first content and email… or are they? 

In reality, many companies are still transitioning away from paper and have yet to make the switch towards native electronic content. Even those companies who have progressed towards a digital model are still largely focusing on a “ingestion” model of data capture, in which content is being stored and kept, but isn’t being formatted in a useable way. 

Instead, the impetus should be on the idea of “digestion”, in which the data being kept within stored content is immediately formatted and placed into an analytics tool, to then be used to glean deeper insights about business processes. (To learn more about the best practices involved with this kind of business process, check out this white paper.) 

For the most part, however, this type of process often still relies heavily on manual data entry rather than software--which doesn’t attenuate the risk of dirty data from mislabeled files and the potential that the file might become lost altogether. To be digestible, data also needs to be maintained in a standard format that can be read by computer programs and humans alike so that it’s easy to access. 

Shifting towards a recognition-based process

That’s why it’s crucial to start thinking of data capture as a process, rather than as a one-time information dump. By integrating data capture into the rest of your systems (just imagine the wealth of customer information at your fingertips, if only it was in an accessible format!), several benefits can be earned:

  • The rate of dirty data will drop, as will that of dark data
  • The metadata associated with your content will be more accurate and specific
  • All your data will be in one easily shareable, searchable format

And that’s just the beginning. The road to digital transformation might be long, but the road to data capture shouldn’t be. By focusing on data capture and recognition as a workflow to be implemented, it’s possible to standardize, analyze, categorize and optimize your data and attain new heights of clarity and efficiency within your organization.

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