Author: AadityaJain

Unleashing the Potential of Data in Insurance – The Road Ahead | Blog

Leading insurance organizations seek to be more data-driven in their business decisions by harnessing the full potential of the data that resides within their enterprise boundaries. With the evolving technology landscape, real-time experience management, and explosion of data types, insurers are increasingly leveraging real-time insights to improve customer experience. In this blog, we will explore the potential benefits for carriers of unlocking data in the insurance value chain.

Insurance enterprises are facing a tough business environment marred by macroeconomic challenges, heightened natural catastrophes, and unfavorable interest rates. This is creating an urgency to re-evaluate underwriting and pricing models by taking data-driven approaches.

Data can help insurers unleash the next growth wave, enable targeted cross and up-selling generated through higher customer engagement levels, and provide a 360-degree view of their customer needs. For example, embedding data and analytics and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) models within the claims workflow can enable zero-touch insurance claims transactions. The digital interaction process can flow seamlessly from intaking all filed claims consistently across channels, validating and assigning complexity scoring to each claim, segmenting and routing the claims based on complexity, to finally settling them as quickly as possible.

Infusing intelligence across insurance operations while investing in data and analytics capabilities can generate a surplus economic value of US$ 874 billion, according to Everest Group research, as illustrated below.

Exhibit 1

Picture1
Source, Everest Group

However, the industry faces challenges to effectively unlock the full potential of data in insurance, including:

  • Siloed and scattered data: Insurers face a high data spread across disparate systems, business lines, functional areas, and channels preventing them from gaining a 360-degree customer view, resulting in high integration costs
  • Inadequate enterprise-wide data strategy: Insurers need to foresee the entire insurance lifecycle to democratize enterprise-level data and analytics objectives and define how they can manage data as an asset and drive critical business decisions
  • Attraction and retention of skilled talent: Employees with technical expertise and domain-specific skills are scarce

The changing road ahead

Insurers are not only striving to make data-driven decisions but also beginning to explore new business models by combining available big data with advanced AI and ML capabilities.

Insurers are shifting from being risk mitigators to playing more of a risk avoidance role with data, cloud, and platforms being their foundational components. Digitization of the value chain, new business models, and underwriting transformation are helping insurers expand their roles from underwriters to risk decision partners who predict unforeseeable risks and ensure protection.

Data from connected devices is becoming a prominent source to assess and prevent risks. To illustrate, in the auto insurance industry, sensors, blind-spot assist, collision avoidance tools, and other safety systems have already been pre-built into vehicles using behavioral data to help improve safety.

Vast data stores are opening up opportunities to price risk more accurately and offer personalized product structures. For instance, utilizing climate and other third-party data empowers insurers to assess geographical areas that present greater catastrophic risk and charge higher premiums instead of measuring these types of risk through traditional approaches.

Deploying AI and other latest technologies not only assists with ingesting unstructured data but also helps generate actionable insights that previously were unavailable to underwriting and claims teams. Insurance data and analytics spend is growing at an accelerated rate of over 25% annually as insurers look to transition to being data-driven enterprises.

Leveraging data from different types of sources such as wearables, internet of things (IoT) sensors, and telematics through clients’ lifestyles and behavior, insurers are embarking on a new age digitized underwriting process. Smart loss capture and IoT sensors are expected to bridge the gap between the traditional claims processing mechanism to zero-touch claims transactions.

How will the insurance industry progress toward a data-driven approach?

Insurers need to actively engage with the ecosystem of data generated by the insurance enterprises as well as information coming in from external sources such as InsurTechs, and services and technology partners. By doing this, insurers can create and implement strategies that will lead to unmatched automated decision-making support that they can leverage to drive growth and efficiency and extract maximum value.

Exhibit 2

Picture2

Source, Everest Group

Data will be a central driving force to strengthen competitiveness in the industry moving forward – allowing carriers to leave behind their traditional approach of solely being risk protectors and move them toward being risk preventers.

As insurers look to become data-driven, data centers and cloud services can enable companies to respond to evolving customer needs, improve resiliency, instill agility, and drive enhanced operational efficiency. Similarly, leveraging AI/ML models and predictive analytics offer a major solution to the challenge of providing real-time actionable insights. Insurers that can create true differentiation and impact using internal and external data will be able to future-proof their business and be seen as leaders in times to come.

To learn more, check out our State of the Market Report 2022 – Unveiling the Economic Value of Data and the Road to Actualization. To discuss more on these topics and share your perspectives with our analyst team, contact [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].

How COVID-19 Will Impact IT Services in the Banking and Financial Services (BFS) Industry | Blog

The BFS industry started 2020 in a cautiously optimistic mood, hoping for a rebound in global economic growth. But then the COVID-19 outbreak swept the world into a state of emergency. The current challenge is far greater for BFS firms than was the Great Recession, as they need to crack the code of how to deal swiftly with both demand- and supply-side shocks. In this scenario, banks face a dual mandate of:

  1. Playing a central role in stabilizing the economy
  2. Ensuring business continuity to maintain normal operations

Breaking down the impact of COVID-19 on the BFS IT services market

To illustrate the variation in pandemic impact across different BFS lines of business (LoBs), we analyzed the severity of impact and speed of recovery for each line. Our assessment of severity of impact involved modeling factors such as the COVID-19 revenue and profitability impact from both a near-term (3-6 months) and a medium-term (6-12 months) perspective. We gave more weight to the medium-term impact as the near-term uncertainty makes the modeling of impact very difficult.

And we mapped impact severity against the speed of recovery by gauging the time it will take for these LoBs to bounce back to the pre-crisis state; this is a function of the health of these business segments before the crisis, as well as expected changes in customer sentiment and buying behavior once the crisis is over.

Our analysis found that BFS LoBs cluster in four zones, each of which exhibits unique characteristics and will face a distinct set of technology and IT services implications. Taking it counterclockwise from the bottom right quadrant:

  1. Aggressive cost take out – Lying on the bottom right, the LoBs in this zone will face the highest degree of impact; we also expect their pace of recovery to be painfully slow. To aid in their recovery, these LoBs should rethink their operating models and get back to basic principles: focus on the core business of provisioning financial services, think of delivering more value to customers, and move away from non-core elements like engineering or IT services innovation.We expect to see heightened asset-heavy deal activity in this segment, as these LoBs will need cash to invest and rejuvenate growth in select focus segments. And they’ll be looking for financial engineering support through activities such as takeover of legacy assets, shared services carve-outs, and even signing of long-term integrated technology plus operations support engagements that are centered around specific business outcomes.
  2. Modernization –This zone at the top right comprises LoBs that we expect to rebound faster to pre-crisis growth levels. From an IT services standpoint, we expect these LoBs to focus on cost savings in the near-term by seeking price cuts on rate cards and pausing some change initiatives. However, soon enough, these segments will get back to modernization initiatives. Hybrid cloud will play a critical role, as these LoBs will place significant emphasis on digital enablement to fuel their long-term growth.
  3. Growth – Odd as this may sound, we expect these business segments to benefit from the crisis in the near term. For example, as governments across multiple geographies have announced relief packages for small businesses that are facing unprecedented economic disruption, banks are needed to facilitate these SBA loans. Financial services firms that have proactively invested in creating a scalable infrastructure and stronger business continuity plans are better positioned to take advantage of this opportunity by generating significant fee income. Enterprises with large LoBs in this zone will also be on the lookout for inorganic expansion and take advantage of the reduced evaluations. Enhancing customer experience, driving product innovation, and improving agility to quickly respond to market demands will be the key investment themes.
  4. Transformation – This zone comprises LoBs that will recover most slowly from this crisis. Hence, these business segments need to rethink their business models and diversify their revenue mix to sustain themselves in the long term. For instance, retail/consumer transaction banking will face profitability challenges due to reliance on interest-based income, and some of the fee-based commoditized businesses, like retail wealth management, have been under stress due to downward fee pressures. As a result, enterprises with large LoBs in this zone will look to transform themselves and invest from a long-term growth perspective.

 

COVID 19 impact vs. response matrix across BFS lines of businesses

Implications for BFS enterprises

At an industry level, we expect BFS firms to completely focus on running the business initiatives in the near term. Our research suggests that banks have put nearly 60 percent of change projects on hold. Most of these suspensions are temporary and will restart once the crisis abates; however, we believe that the prioritization and nature of these change projects will mutate due to a shift in business priorities and budgets.

As an immediate response to the current situation, designing and executing customer assistance programs should be the top priority for BFS firms. In the medium term, the firms’ focus should gradually shift to modernization of legacy systems that slowed down banks’ agility and ability to respond to this crisis. Post COVID-19, BFS firms will need to reimagine their products, pricing, and channel strategies to fulfill evolved customers’ expectations.

Our recommendation for BFS enterprises is to cautiously evaluate their exposure across each of their LoBs and carve out a holistic IT strategy that takes into account not only the near-term implications, but also their long-term business philosophy.

Please share your views on the impact of COVID-19 on the BFS industry segments with us at [email protected] and [email protected].

Telematics in Insurance – A Big Opportunity yet to be Fully Explored | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Price competition used to define the competitive dynamics of the P&C insurance industry. However, as margins started squeezing with low interest rates and rising claims costs, it became imperative for insurers to focus on product differentiation in order to attract new customers and drive premium growth.

This is when usage-based insurance (UBI), an insurance product model where the premium varies according to the risk of claims that the insured’s policy-related behavior poses, started gaining traction. UBI is noteworthy as it offers a remarkable opportunity for insurers to deliver hyper-personalization and evolve from a product-centric to a customer-centric business mindset.

To date, the auto insurance segment has been the most aggressive adopter of the UBI model, which is enabled by the underlying telematics infrastructure. Telematics technology enables insurers to capture each customer’s driving data, which is then used to continually update the customer’s risk profile and compute the payable premium. Data collection devices have evolved from black-box to OBD-II dongles to in-built telematics units in automobiles and smartphones.

UBI’s Business Case is Strong; however, Sourcing Gets Complicated for Insurers

We expect the market for UBI to grow substantially at a CAGR of ~40 percent during 2018-2020, with an estimated 35-40 million UBI policies in force by the end of 2020. This is certainly impressive growth.

However, to launch UBI products, insurers must make substantial investments in connected devices and data infrastructure. Moreover, not all insurers have the scale, risk-appetite, investable capital, or technology expertise to make significant inroads into UBI. Thus, insurers are leveraging third-party vendors to support their telematics journey.

Yet, the vendor ecosystem is fragmented, making it challenging for insurers to determine what organization to partner with.

Here’s the breakdown of the three major categories of telematics vendors:

Telematics Service Providers (TSPs)

These have the capability to manage the entire value-chain, from telematics device sourcing to device deployment and maintenance to end-customer engagement to telematics data management. However, as a single TSP might not be able to provide access to all the underlying connected devices, insurers must pre-strategize their requirements for data depth and breadth. There have been cases where insurers have entered into partnerships with multiple vendors with varying competency to leverage connected devices and technology maturity.

Data exchanges

The core value proposition of this class of vendors lies in their access to huge volume of data and their data handling capabilities, which reduces the burden of data management at the insurer’s end. Players that have entered this market also have developed a modest understanding of the insurance sector, which enables them to provide risk assessment support to insurers. However, while data exchanges typically can augment insurers’ telematics journey, they cannot provide end-to-end support.

OEMs

OEMs have emerged as significant competitors to the other classes of vendors due to their direct control of the point-of-sale. As the telematics unit is prebuilt into the automobile, insurers do not have to worry about the entire infrastructure management of telematics devices. However, partnering with an OEM could also mean loss of revenue from value-added services.

Telematics in Insurance – A Big Opportunity yet to be Fully Explored - potential impact

Service Providers as the Orchestrator – Big Opportunity Waiting to be Capitalized

With each of the categories of vendors specializing in specific parts of the telematics value-chain, insurers face a big challenge in connecting with different parties for different values, and in managing the multi-vendor ecosystem.

This is where IT/BP service providers can enter the picture. To date, they have failed to establish a competitive differentiation for themselves in this market. However, considering they have a sound understanding of insurers’ businesses, operations, and IT systems, they could provide significant value as the orchestrator of this branched ecosystem.

They could look to source the best value from different classes of vendors by tying partnerships with select technology vendors across the ecosystem. Then, they could serve as a specialist to help insurer wrap their operations around telematics technology to drive product differentiation.

In this model, service providers could – potentially – offer an integrated value proposition that would involve: owning the implementation risk; providing value-added services such as risk assessment and customer management support; managing the complexity involved in coordinating with multiple classes of vendors; and assuming responsibility for the risks (e.g., business risk, technology lock-in, etc.) associated with engaging with niche firms.

This could be a win-win-win scenario, for insurers, end-customers, and providers.

How service providers ultimately decide to capitalize on the telematics opportunity remains to be seen. However, they should be cognizant of not frivolously trying to compete where their expertise does not lie, and instead leverage their strengths to make themselves most relev

The Characteristics of Europe’s Digital Banking Leaders | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Disruptive forces – open banking regulations, growing FinTech ecosystems, and increasing demand for a seamless customer experience – are forcing banks to make significant investments in digital technologies.

The UK and European banking market is characterized by heightened activity on account of multiple converging factors

To effectively compete, banks must move away from being perceived as physical structures that offer financial services/products to an ambient fabric that connects people and businesses. They must transition from a transactional, product-centric approach to an intelligence-oriented customer-centric model centered around customers’ journeys. Artificial Intelligence (AI), API-enabled open banking architecture, and cloud are fast-becoming the foundations of banks’ IT architecture.

In order to evaluate and measure how organizations are faring in their leverage of digital technologies, Everest Group several years ago developed the Digital Effectiveness Assessment model.

Everest Group Digital Effectiveness Assessment model

On the Capability maturity axis, we measure organizations’ presence on all digital platforms, the quality of their mobile apps and online banking capabilities, their activity on various social media channels, their self-service innovations, and their open banking capabilities. On the Business outcomes axis, we measure their digital prowess using parameters including customers’ digital channel adoption, the customer experience (based on mobile app ratings, website optimization, and engagement), brand perception, and financial performance.

Earlier this year, we used the model to determine the European digital banking leaders. And from a field of the top 20 banks in Europe, we identified seven: Barclays, BBVA, BNP Paribas, HSBC, KBC Group, Lloyds, and Société Générale. These financial institutions have achieved:

  1. Superior financial performance: 17 percent higher growth in deposits, and 3 percent advantage in efficiency ratio in 2017
  2. Superior customer experience: Higher penetration of digital and social channels (e.g., up to 75 percent of BNP Paribas’ retail customers are using mobile app and online banking channels), mobile-based advisory capabilities, and personalized products and services. These leaders’ mobile application ratings are 7 percent higher than the other banks we evaluated.
  3. Stronger customer engagement: A superior user interface (UI), feature-packed mobile apps (e.g., BBVA offers 80 percent of the mobile features evaluated) and online banking platforms, self-service technologies across branch/ATM network (e.g., Barclays offers card-less cash withdrawal, bill payments, and check deposits through ATMs), and meaningful social media content.
  4. Higher business growth: Wider adoption of digital banking channels, superior efficiency ratios, adoption of an open banking ecosystem, and innovative product offerings, particularly through the wider set of APIs they offer.

European Banking Leaders

These leaders have re-designed their customer journey to adapt to external disruptions by:

  1. Calibrating current customer satisfaction: Formulating a unique customer engagement model based on insights gained on each customer’s digital readiness and adoption.
  2. Benchmarking current digital maturity with best-in-class enterprises: Evaluating their digital channel maturity and customer satisfaction scores against best-in-class peers, and then tailoring their digital strategy to bridge the gap in their organization’s vision of the customer experience.
  3. Redesigning the customer experience: Incorporating human-centric design principles to address customers’ stated and unstated requirements and desires.
  4. Optimizing their channel strategy: Developing a comprehensive channel strategy to drive customer adoption and acquisition, and changing the business model to deliver digital experiences.
  5. Innovative product offerings: Offering personal finance management features through digital channels that are intuitive and simple for users. Other services include payments through multiple messaging and social media channels, and intelligent voice-based payment solutions.

To learn more about the characteristics of Europe’s digital banking leaders, and what sets them apart from the others, see our report: Digital Effectiveness in Retail Banking | Focus on Banks in the UK and Europe: Identifying Digital Banking Leaders in the Open Banking Era.

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