The digital branch for insurance firms

Ryan Forsythe, Content Marketing Specialist, Moxo

Insurance firms play a vital role in helping people prevent loss and recover from catastrophe. Providing a convenient, digital client experience is critical to business efficiency. As a result, implementing the right digital strategy is imperative.

Given how important insurance is to clients, customers expect full visibility into their policies and accessible engagement with representatives. That means being able to interact through a wide range of digital channels promptly and reliably. Operating solely through phone and email are no longer nearly enough.

Today’s insurance firms must prioritize omnichannel experiences to accommodate the rapidly diversifying range of demands. This now applies throughout every stage of the buyer journey and to every interaction between the client and the firm thereafter. Client satisfaction depends on having a connected and accessible digital presence across all the channels they use. For example, some clients might prefer to shop for or manage their policies using a mobile app, while others may prefer the familiarity of an existing website. In other words, insurance firms should establish virtual branches that provide instantly accessible OneStop experiences to all their clients. This should be available across all devices and platforms.

One of the biggest challenges facing the insurance sector is establishing a single, consistent, and persistent relationship with clients who engage representatives across multiple channels. Digital transformation is helping firms unify and streamline these experiences by bolstering their technological capabilities. This lets them perform a large number of functions in a way that’s cost-effective and advantageous to clients.

At the same time, overreliance on certain digital technologies, particularly things like chatbots and autoresponders, comes with the risk of dehumanizing business-to-client interactions. In a sector that depends heavily on taking a personalized approach to clients, it’s more important than ever to focus on humanizing technology. In fact, digital transformation is as much about people and processes as it is about technology. It’s not about modernization for the sake of it – it’s about deploying digital solutions to automate routine operations, thereby freeing up time for representatives to focus on tasks that demand a human touch.

A successful digital transformation strategy enables persistent client relationships across the full range of mediums today’s customers use, such as instant messaging, video meetings, and document-sharing. Insurance is a high-touch service that depends on all these things.

We’ve now reached the exabyte scale when it comes to the sheer amount of data generated by everyday digital activities. Larger insurance firms often have multiple petabytes of customer and internal data stored across a huge and disparate range of different systems. Even smaller firms routinely collect vast amounts of information across online channels ranging from social media to mobile apps to company websites. Managing and protecting all this data at scale is becoming increasingly challenging, especially in highly regulated sectors like insurance.

A core concept of digital transformation is simplifying and unifying these increasingly complex computing and data environments. Firms need to maintain full visibility into their data, including every customer interaction to ensure regulatory compliance and confidentiality. In an industry that’s built on trust and integrity, insurance firms must place information governance at the top of their digital transformation strategies.

Digital transformation revolves around building and maintaining a complete and auditable trail of data, which includes every customer interaction. Having a OneStop portal that unites things like document-sharing, customer messaging, collaboration, task-management, and meetings helps simplify information governance and reduce risk. For clients, this greater visibility means faster delivery of quotes, claim settlements, and dispute resolutions.

Perhaps the most common misconception about digital transformation is that it’s a destination, a singular project with a beginning, middle, and end. But given the rapid pace of technological advancement, and the changing consumer habits that come with it, this approach doesn’t suit any business well in the longer term. Rather, digital transformation is a continuing strategy, a journey that exists as long as the organization itself exists. It’s about scaling with and adapting to future demands, rather than risking succumbing to obsolescence later on.

Digital transformation covers processes, business models, and corporate culture. It only uses technology as a vehicle to drive changes in these areas. For example, recent years have seen a huge shift towards a service-based model, which affords organizations full visibility into costs and the ability to scale their resources with demand. Cloud computing is one of the key areas of digital strategy, since it allows companies to reduce dependence on in-house resources. A fully managed, web-based client portal is one such example, since it continuously adapts to the needs of your firm and its clients.

A key concept of digital transformation is business resiliency. It’s about adapting to constant change through continuous improvement and regular testing. There’s no better way to ensure business continuity than by establishing a virtual branch for your business which incorporates every aspect of a physical branch. This includes branding, communication, sales, and human relationships. Moreover, virtual branches, powered by OneStop digital experiences, are vastly more convenient for today’s customers. For businesses themselves, they help reduce risk and keep operational costs to a minimum, especially in a time of heightened economic uncertainty.