Top Insuretech Trends for 2022
We speak with Laurie Pierman - Vice President of Claim Operations and Shared Services at Amerisure, an industry-leading property and casualty insurance provider, about all things innovation, insuretech and trends within the industry.
You believe that innovation is not just for the big industry players. Can you elaborate on this?
There are many opportunities and solutions available with insuretechs, and they run the gamut of what’s of interest to the big industry players as well as what might be of interest to someone smaller. A lot of insuretechs and innovators out there are looking to partner with someone a little smaller, with whom they can get their foot in the door and learn from in a more focused way. Utilising the “software as a service” model also allows for flexibility in pricing, and this can enable smaller companies to become involved in the insuretech space and innovate at scale.
What are the benefits of partnering with an insuretech?
One of the biggest benefits of partnering with an insuretech is that, depending on where they are in their journey, they’re open to feedback from customers along their roadmap. Becoming involved with insuretechs has allowed us to partner and identify avenues of innovation we can pursue to bring collective value. It also allows us to influence where insuretechs are spending their time and resources and enables both organisations tolearn as we go. We’ve built strong relationships with our insuretech partners: they appreciate companies that took a risk on them in the early days and want to truly partner and make changes or adjustments that would bring value.
Insuretechs can help insurance carriers think differently— sometimes we get stuck in our traditional ways of thinking and are risk-averse. Insuretechs can push you to realise what’s possible. The relationship provides benefits and opportunities for both parties: many insuretechs are just starting out, and it’s easier for them to get in and focus with a smaller regional carrier who can help them learn and grow as they go along and provide immediate feedback on what works and doesn’t.
The biggest challenge when exploring insuretechs can be deciding where to focus your time and efforts. I spend a lot of time looking at potential solutions through the lens of 1) what’s the problem to solve, 2) what’s the constituency that will benefit from this (such as our customers and their journey, or our claims staff by automating processes so that they have more time), and 3) how will it improve outcomes. At Amerisure, when we began exploring opportunities, we established a roadmap that determined where we wanted to focus and where were the solutions we wanted to look at; conducted evaluations with consultants; and focused on “moments of truth” in our claims journey, with the bookends of claims submission and resolution. We spent a lot of time focusing on those areas; now we can focus on additional enhancements in the journey to help everyone.
To keep learning about the benefits of insuretechs, I leverage industry events such as webinars, conferences and expositions, as well as vendor demonstrations (I am excited in-person events should be starting up again in the second half of 2022, as they are very valuable to help us determine who we may want to move forward with).
Tell us a little bit more about Amerisure and the services you offer.
Amerisure is a leading provider of commercial property and casualty insurance solutions for US-based construction, manufacturing and healthcare businesses. Licensed in all fifty states and available through an exclusive network of elite independent agents, the company upholds an “A” (Excellent) financial strength rating, industry- leading service scores, and multiple awards for innovation. Amerisure has been in business for more than 100 years and is consistently named among the best places to work in the industry and throughout the nation.
Insuretechs can help insurance carriers think differently — sometimes we get stuck in our traditional ways of thinking and are risk-averse. Insuretechs can push you to realise what’s possible.
In what ways has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work?
The COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to think about technology differently and enabled us to — out of necessity in some cases — innovate. It allowed us to identify vulnerabilities and showed us the “old way” of doing things is not always as efficient. COVID provided us with a timely reason to explore innovation — in general, customers realised that because they were going through it themselves, we must also do things differently. We found that with so many people working remotely, everyone is more patient and understanding of these situations than they would have been before. In a lot of ways, we all became much more flexible and have learned to roll with the punches.
What are the key lessons it has taught you so far?
My philosophy in life is: out of any negative situation, seek to find the positives and silver linings. There have been a lot of negatives with COVID, and while we can’t change the negatives, I always like to reflect on: “What are some of the things I can see as a positive?”
COVID has taught us how important it is to keep in touch and that relationships are truly sacred. At Amerisure, we started to look at how to maintain those connections in this situation, including increased communication with our staff, especially as we move into a hybrid work environment.
We used to believe we needed to be face-to-face with customers and now have found that virtual meetings can sometimes be more efficient, eliminating travel time and in-person technological challenges. The entire experience provides lessons in leveraging technology and finding a balance so that there is a nice blend of communication methodologies.
What trends do you expect to see industry-wide in the next 12 months?
There will be many trends focusing on the customer experience and digital journey. Especially because of COVID, the pendulum settles into a sweet spot where not all experiences are electronic, and yet not all are manual such as it was before. This balance will continue to be a conversation in our industry as carriers respond to what their customers need and where they want to conduct business, whether it’s through a digital channel, over the phone, or a little of both — especially when it comes to claims. It’s important in claims to always consider the empathy piece, as there is likely a traumatic event happening in someone’s life, and it can be emotional. Flexibility for people to opt in and out of digital channels depending on the circumstances is something we’ll continue to see.
There will be a lot more that happens around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) this year. This technology will continue to become more seamless, enhancing software already in existence to identify sentiment.
The next version of analytics will also be a significant trend: There’s a lot of work being done around predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics, which not only tells you that “X” is going to happen, but it also tells you what actions will have the most benefit.
Another trend we’ll hear more about is how innovation can be achieved easier, faster, and cheaper. There will be technology available that doesn’t require as much maintenance from an IT perspective, and even more opportunities in the insuretech space for companies to leverage software across multiple areas throughout an organisation. For example, I may be talking to a vendor about their claims product, and they also have a capability that’s perfect for underwriting or other areas of the organisation. That synergy allows you to learn from the technology you’ve already implemented, making it faster and easier to enhance usage, and also allows for less maintenance and technological debt to manage. That’s an opportunity we’re going to see going forward: more insuretechs are looking at how to broaden their focus to address problems from multiple organisational areas.
Many core systems in the insurance space are looking to expand and make it easier for carriers to innovate, exploring and identifyingopportunitiesalready part of licenses within the software to achieve solutions easier and cheaper than before. Core systems functioning outside of a silo make it easier for carriers to innovate and allow the insuretech to integrate with them easily and seamlessly.
What is Amerisure working on in 2022?
One of the largest initiatives we’re working on is the modernisation and upgrading of our core applications. While we’ve been on a modern claims system since 2015, it’s been an upgrade process to move the entire claims core system to the cloud. Having all major core systems on a modern platform will allow us to innovate and move forward at a much faster rate. Our claims systems will be in the cloud this year; moving our policy and billing systems to the cloud is a multi-year journey.
As an organisation, we’ve made tremendous strides in how to approach the experience we want our customers to have, whether internal or external and focus on the customer journey. We’ve created multiple roles focused on the customer experience, and we’ve added a user experience group within IT to help us focus from a tech perspective, making sure it’s consistent and seamless. The teams will focus and look at opportunities from that perspective and help us feel cohesive and consistent across applications customers interact with. I’m excited to make tremendous strides here in 2022.
One of the things I am most impressed with within our industry is, yes, there’s competition among carriers, as we are all trying to be successful and grow business — but we also are trying to help each other and are always looking to find ways to share information to help others be successful. I feel that it’s important to impart lessons to my industry peers that may help them. As I have looked at technologies, I’ve learned a lot from other companies, and it’s helped me identify how and where to focus. I’m very proud of how we all continue to help each other as an industry, and how so many industry leaders are working to pay it forward and share lessons learned.