Insurance industry needs to ramp up these 6 areas to effectively address the global crisis
‘global pandemics’ to be one of the most important extreme risks for the insurance industry & global crisis to worry about in the long term.
Insurance industry & global crisis needs to ramp up these 6 areas to effectively address.
We explore the insurance business areas that are currently under great pressure & the pragmatic efforts needed to equip them to better handle an unpredictable future.
Opportunities to ramp up
2019 was a record year with over $6 billion in investment, for insurance-tech start-ups & scale-ups.
The insurance industry & global crisis that has forced insurers to leave no stone unturned when re-evaluating their businesses’ structure & operations & customer service.
Let’s look at a few insurance business areas that can benefit from a ramp-up
Reshape insurance business strategy
India’s insurance regulator IRDA has already moved to revise insurers’ product portfolio.
They have advised insurance companies to design products that cover treatment costs for COVID-19 patients.
We’d also recommend that companies reassess their existing product portfolio & evaluate the launch of more comprehensive insurance products in the future.
India’s first corona-specific products the digital payments company Phone Pe has launched an insurance policy.
Corona Care in collaboration with General Insurance for people who have been infected & hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment.
Reimagine risk models
One of the biggest reasons why insurance companies have not built models suited for a pandemic-like situation.
The lack of enough historical precedents to build credible loss curves for a COVID-19 like situation.
Sophisticated stochastic models are based in epidemiological science & are built from the ground up using a wide range of inputs.
Disease’s transmissibility & lethality & point of origin & status of a vaccine in production.
There is no widely accepted risk model that all parties may comfortably use as a pricing guide.
Our suggestion is to design a robust strategy that does not ramp up only during emergencies or crises.
The extensive framework should continuously evolve to consider all possible permutations & combinations of risks & redressals.
Build digital capabilities
Digital Insurance is out of the bottle and will be hard to put back in.
Our recommendation is to invest in digital platforms that will enable remote & seamless collaboration of diverse stakeholders.
The COVID-19 crisis gives rise to unique situations where a nominee might not even be aware of the insured’s ongoing treatment because of strict lockdowns.
Insurance companies will need to extend the benefit of doubt to the nominee & without requiring additional action like intimation & form submission, etc.
This can be easily facilitated by proactive & regular & consistent communication through digital channels.
The scope of digitization should be broadened to internal processes as well like & virtual inspections & DIY claims reporting for first notice of loss (FNOL) & AI-based damage assessments.
We advise that insurers & regulators accelerate their involvement in emerging tech like blockchain which has the potential to eliminate intermediaries & duplications.
Evolve decision intelligence
Developing decision intelligence & management is a valuable addition in particular to the underwriting & claims & policy administration processes.
Our suggestion to insurers is & pick a straightforward point to start this data management journey.
It could be anything from targeting macro decisions to day-to-day operations. Identify a motivated line-of-business sponsor so that the project does not lose steam.
The project should engage operational and technical folks to examine institutionalizing new approaches.
The project functions within expected tolerances & all learnings are recorded for the continued data management journey.
Enable flexible operating models & a remote workforce
Once the COVID-19 outbreak is controlled & business continuity plans will come under review.
This will raise questions about employees having easy access to remote working set ups and if the insurers’ employee onboarding processes accounted for this way of working.
Upskilling & cross-skilling agents & adjusters & other field operatives to be adept with digital collaboration tools will help manage increase in operation volume during a crisis-like situation.
Our suggestion for insurers is to enable setting up remote digital workspaces for their workforce & which should focus on culture & technology & communication & training & decision making.
We foresee that as remote working becomes the norm & equipping insurers with the mindset & technical ability to supervise their remote teams & employees will become pertinent.
A small step in this direction are the recommendations that insurance regulators have started issuing to employees working from home.
Addressing cyber risk factors proactively
It is common knowledge that the insurance industry is in early stages of a comprehensive digital transformational journey.
COVID-19 has created a sense of urgency about building these aspirational digital capabilities.
The Aon Benfield report that states & a majority of the people working in the insurance industry are likely to see at least one pandemic during their careers.
IT projects to be re-evaluated as per deliverables that are immediate versus long term. This will also call for a heavy scrutiny of data & process security.
Insurance companies to build better system resilience by proactively identifying security abnormalities & instituting daily & virtual situational threat intelligence briefings.
Post–COVID-19 & the insurance industry should have laid the foundations to innovate and build organizational resilience.
The sector should reimagine business processes to consider all stakeholders customers employees & distribution channel partners & vendors.
This is pertinent because at the end of the day & the industry’s core mission is to help manage risk and buffer against shocks like COVID-19.
This approach will ensure the sector’s focus shifts to contextual & clear communication to customers.
Insurers can be more transparent in their benefits-definition & risk coverage & the communication of the same.