When it comes to digitalisation and customer-centricity, insurers are not short of ideas on how to improve customer experience, from personalised apps to intuitive websites. However, as Willis Towers Watson’s Heloise Rossouw writes for The Actuary, in order for insurers to deliver true value, they need shift their focus and prioritise the back-office to ensure their technology systems and organisational structure is fit for transformation.

Customers today are more demanding and their expectations are changing at a significant pace. These expectations are being driven by exponential advances in technology and market innovations in other industries that are setting the bar for what good customer service looks like at a much higher level than before.

In light of this, we have seen a global shift towards more digital and customer-focused strategies amongst insurers. In delivering these strategies, the general trend has been for companies to focus mainly on the customer-facing elements of the end-user experience, such as faster, intuitive websites and user-friendly apps.

In our experience, the biggest constraints for insurers are not the lack of will or ideas. More likely, the stumbling blocks are the limits of legacy systems, technology, organisational structure and supporting processes and having the right talent to execute the transformation and deliver value.

It can, therefore, be argued that the foundation of customer-focused strategies are truly based on ‘below the water line’ items:

  • Data quality, integration and management
  • Technology linking your back-office and front-office
  • Advanced analytics.

Liberating data and insights from your legacy systems, in ways that fit with how companies want to apply them across the business, is usually difficult. In this respect, the iceberg analogy, so loved by many consultants, really is appropriate.

Many of these ‘below the water line’ items are directly relevant to actuaries, particularly in working across business functions to leverage our deep insurance experience and analytical skills more widely to provide real actionable business insights.

We discuss this topic in more depth with The Actuary magazine in the full article.