I have been in the insurance software business now for more than 25 years, and early in my career, the question was raised: “Why do brokers have client administration systems while insurers struggle on with multiple, unconnected policy administration systems?” During all my time in the business, nobody has been able to tell me why insurers wish to keep their clients divided up into silos, where no part of their organisation can get a true understanding of the overall client value.
It isn’t as though the technology could not deal with it: brokers had the same technology limitations. It isn’t that there was insufficient budget – heaven knows how much has been squandered over the years. The sad truth is that systems architects have left the insurer community with a scarred legacy, not just of old code but a technology landscape which is fragmented and unsuited to today’s customer experience-oriented business. The same applies to how customer service channels have been deployed in silos, as each one (phone, web site, email etc.) has become viable.
Contact centre agents struggle to give good customer service via a multitude of siloed channels and have to access (on average) five legacy systems simply to get the work done. They are awash with data, Post-it notes, cutting and pasting all day and making decisions on the hoof based on their best guess of what they should do.
Major players in other industries have already moved to transparently accessing all channel information on a single CRM screen and have already integrated their legacy systems for slick business process and case management (equivalent to a client admin system), yet, why is insurance so far behind?
The latest advances in analytics, giving agents prompts and advice on the next best action they can take at every stage of the client interaction based on all the available data on that client, are moving other industries even further ahead of the insurance market.
Client expectation is not set by the standards of your industry competitors; they are set by the generic brand leaders in customer service. The technology is available to make it happen – and the thought leaders are beginning to implement it. Yet still, by comparison, the insurance industry remains well behind in getting to grips with the new world order of customer experience.
Feel free to let me know why you think this is the case – I’d love to hear from you.