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It’s been a challenging year for insurance companies in the wake of devastating natural disasters, legislation changes, and a mass shift to remote working during COVID-19 lockdowns.

As a highly complex industry involving many interrelated parties, shifting to a new digital-first era is difficult. This is especially true during recent periods of high demand, where increased customer contact (queries about health or travel policies or claims for damage) may hinder transformation efforts.

These challenges are also arising amidst a shift in consumer expectations, where the perception of “get it fast, get it now” doesn’t escape any product or service provider. Increasing competition from new players who are walking into the sector with a digital-first strategy has put the pressure on established insurance companies to keep up.

For insurance companies to remain competitive – both in terms of profitability and customer experience – they need:
  • ultra-efficient internal processes
  • engaging customer experiences
  • reliable ways to mitigate insurance fraud
  • more analytics for informed decision making
  • secure, cost-effective and scalable solutions

New age systems for the new age

Insurance businesses that were already well on the way with their digital transformation have likely had an easier run these past 12 months.

However, both those businesses and businesses that are yet to implement robust digital solutions, must embrace a strategy of continual evolution and improvement. Without it, the cost and risk are simply too high.
To ensure profitability and sustainability, insurance companies are increasingly seeking out smart technologies that can take on repetitive and traditionally manual tasks that are prone to human error.

Leveraging robotics is an astute plan of attack that is rapidly proving its worth in the insurance sector by driving efficiencies, reducing costs, eliminating errors, and much more.

Robotic process automation: solving key challenges for insurance companies

From fast-tracking claims to unclogging bottlenecks in accounting processes, here are 5 areas where robotic process automation is solving key challenges for insurance companies…

1. Claims

In a McKinsey whitepaper, Digital disruption in insurance: Cutting through the noise, research found that automation can reduce the cost of the claims journey by an impressive 30%.

This is because bots can be programmed to process information at lightning speed – drastically reducing processing time and delivering critical insights to staff who can take over for the final leg of the journey.

A leading insurance company was experiencing difficulties with their claims process; finding it too slow, complex and error-prone. Leadership also had strong concerns about the handling of sensitive data, and backlogs had become a serious and ongoing issue.
The company implemented RPA for a range of internal processes and saw:
  • a 68% increase in productivity
  • more than 95% enhancement of accuracy
  • elimination of risk in processing sensitive data

A leading global re-insurer achieved similar outcomes when they sought to overhaul manual claims management and reconciliation processes. RPA bots now carry out a range of tasks including claimant screening, financial reconciliation, expense clearing, and document triaging.

This company saw a 50% throughput increase, complete elimination of errors, and a substantial reduction in wrongful claims.

2. Underwriting

Underwriting involves largely mundane and repetitive tasks requiring substantial data collection.

Robotic process automation is capable of significantly reducing the time it takes to complete the underwriting process, by:
  • automating data collation
  • pre-populating fields
  • producing assessment reports
  • flagging concerns

3. Customer Service

Leading global brands have positioned customers to believe that anything and everything can be done in an instant. In the insurance sector, this means fast quotes, fast cover, fast feedback, and fast responses during the claims process. RPA can assist in digitising more of the customer journey to assist in meeting (or exceeding) these expectations.

As opposed to manual processing, RPA also generates data by nature. This data empowers insurance companies to forge deeper customer intimacy because they gain an appreciation of who their customers are, what they want, how they engage with the business, and so much more.

As insurers seek to drive higher retention rates with existing customers, rather than focusing solely on attracting new ones, this customer intimacy is crucial to providing a personalised service that creates brand loyalty.

Another key consideration is the time robotic process automation gives back to staff. By freeing them of mundane and repetitive tasks, they have more time to engage with customers and handle more complex or meaningful tasks.

4. Sales and Distribution

Sales and distribution processes are another challenge for insurance companies as they are excessively time consuming and open to manual error.

Robotic process automation could be likened to deploying a second team who works tirelessly behind the scenes to manage repetitive activities such as the creation of sales scorecards and credit checks.

Ultimately this leads to reduced processing time and faster delivery to customers – thereby improving the customer experience.

5. Operations

Insurance companies are laden with manual, administrative tasks which take staff countless hours to complete and are hindered by working hours and business days.

Studies show that insurance companies could free up to 30% of their capacity by automating operational processes. McKinsey’s whitepaper also found a large incumbent could more than double profits over 5 years by digitising existing business.

A sample of operational tasks that could be digitised with RPA include:
  • data processing
  • accounting activities
  • policy cancellations
  • settlements
  • credit control
For example, a global property insurer was having difficulty releasing vendor payments within agreed timeframes. After realising the issue was a major contributor to vendor attrition and customer dissatisfaction, they replaced much of the processing with a bot. The company has since seen a 50% reduction in operational costs, 70% increase in productivity, additional capacity, reduced customer complaints, and improved service levels.

A final consideration for insurance companies is compliance. In this instance, robotic process automation can assist with generating detailed logs of transactions and validating customer information for a single source of truth when auditing for compliance.

Why choose RPA-as-a-Service

RPA-as-a-Service allows you to develop and deploy robotic process automation in a fraction of the time, and at a fraction of the cost, of other robotic process automation solutions.

This means your business gets a faster return on investment and can quickly prove the value of RPA to internal stakeholders, so you can begin leveraging it across other areas of the business.

Robotic process automation will not disturb existing IT systems. Rather, it is designed to complement your business by seamlessly inserting into your current ways of working.
Most importantly, RPA allows you to scale without effort and is guaranteed to give staff back more time, so they can focus on delighting your customers and providing a 5-star service.

To speak with Canon Business Services' experienced RPA team about deploying robotic process automation in your insurance company, please contact us.

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