These trends emerged against an economic backdrop which remains far from benign and within an industry where the balance between risk and reward is always uncertain.
Insurers are looking to redefine what constitutes best practice and, understandably, learn the lessons of the turmoil which has engulfed some of the very biggest players in the industry - as evidenced through Aviva’s ongoing disposal programme2.
The industry’s technology trends reflect these wider concerns:
1. Best-of-breed software solutions are pulling ahead of end-to-end packages as insurance organisations work to target and solve specific challenges.
2. Companies are looking to gain advantage through automation and standardisation for front of office underwriting. This minimises data duplication, eases the transition from quote to post-bind and helps to control exposure when dealing with multiple channels to market.
3. There is a renewed focus on the customer. Insurance organisations are using technology solutions like those outlined above to create integrated systems that put customers back where they belong at the centre of the business rather than adopting a fragmented view across a number of lines of business.
4. There is a renewed emphasis on refreshing legacy systems in order to minimise risk and maximise the potential for growth and regulatory compliance.
5. There is widespread awareness of the significance of mobile computing as insurance organisations invest in apps, tablets and mobile devices that can deliver their insurance software suites and boost the productivity of their workers. These devices also represent an increasingly significant channel to market with the number of smartphone users in the UK alone forecast to more than double between 2012 and 2016, from 19.2 million to 41.9 million3.
Of course, technology is only one aspect of how any industry operates and develops.
But for the insurance industry in 2013 it could prove to be a real game-changer as they address issues ranging from regulatory compliance to the economy to the need to stimulate savings rates.