Insurance makes things possible. It protects us against the risk of something going wrong with our cars, our homes, our belongings, or our health. Insurance frees up companies to take risks – while managing the impact if problems do occur. Technology is rapidly transforming the world of insurance. A new breed of insurrect companies are reinventing traditional insurance processes, and even the most traditional insurers are facing a digital future.
Technology creates almost limitless new possibilities. It is not uncommon now for insurers to offer hourly coverage, with premiums based on detailed location and usage data from in-car black boxes, smartwatches or drones. Meanwhile, our increasingly connected material universe and the so-called Internet of Things. Allow real-time monitoring of everything from the contents of your freezer to the risk of fire and flooding.
My own journey on the path that led me to the intersection of insurance and technology began in Japan in the 1980s. I traveled there from Ireland as a young man on a government-backed scheme to gain experience in the most dynamic technology economy in the world at the time. The years I spent in Japan left a lasting impression. They imbued me with a mindset focused on quality and service that runs through everything we do at DOCOsoft to this day.
Since the company’s inception 15 years ago, we’ve gone from providing document management software to the highly sophisticated claims management systems we now specialize in. The combined commitment to innovation and engineering excellence that I’ve found in Japan has helped us compete with and beat much larger technology companies. As an independent company with no outside investors to please, we are free to do things on our own terms and remain fully focused on our customers.
Technologies Transforming Insurance Sector Claims
When a claim arrives from a customer, claim handlers need to compare it with the relevant insurance policy and a host of other information to assess whether the claim should be paid. Our systems bring together all the information needs of claims handlers in a single panel, streamlining the entire process and eliminating manual errors. We find ways to automate routine tasks that add little value to the claims process. We apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve process efficiency and enable data-driven analysis and decision-making.
Much of what we do in practice is to allow our clients’ systems to integrate and exchange with other systems and platforms in the marketplace. Using application programming interface (API) software, we can link to external applications, bringing in data from a wide variety of sources to inform and empower the claims management process. In the future, open APIs will greatly reduce the time required to connect to external systems, building different functionality like Lego bricks to create systems that are greater than the sum of their parts.
For example, the subject of sanctions has been in the news a lot recently, and our claims management platform has links to official lists of individuals and organizations that are subject to sanctions. This means that when a claim comes in, claim handlers can quickly see if the recipient of any payment is on a sanctions list (in which case the claim cannot be paid) without them having to leave the dashboard to check the lists. manually. These speeds up the process and eliminates the risk of mistyping or other user error.
Cybersecurity In Insurance Sector
Cybersecurity is a huge and rapidly expanding risk area for all businesses and organizations. Insurers have struggled to provide coverage against these risks – but they face challenges. Premiums have increased dramatically with the recent increase in criminal and state-sponsored cyber-attacks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, making cyber risk increasingly difficult to manage and, from an insurance underwriting perspective, to price appropriately.
The scope and potential impact of cyber threats was vividly illustrated by the recent alleged cyber-attack on Lloyd’s of London. An institution at the heart of the global insurance market. We are acutely aware of how crucial it is that our own systems are secure. Many companies still use outdated legacy systems. Older in-house hardware is particularly vulnerable, while more established cloud-based systems are better protected and supported. Ultimately, insurers need to focus on their core business and outsource their technology to specialists like us, with their back-end systems hosted in the cloud.
Technology opens up a world of new possibilities. But insurance companies need to look carefully at what they expect to use technology for – and the associated implications in terms of costs and benefits, risks and rewards. We collaborate closely with our insurance customers, helping them derive maximum value from a targeted investment in appropriate technology solutions. The insurance industry needs to embrace the potential of new technologies, but it must do so with its eyes wide open. In this way, insurers can maximize efficiency and profitability while gaining competitive advantage by providing excellent customer service.