How Automation Fits Into Insurance BPO
The insurance industry is more than a numbers game—it’s about people. However, the more you can improve your numbers, in essence your productivity, the more you can focus on the people behind them. Time consuming back office tasks become more manageable through automation. While technology takes on the more rote functions, which are subject to human error, humans gain more freedom to respond to customers and build relationships that lay your foundation for long term success. Let’s take a deeper look at how automation fits into insurance BPO.
Benefits of Automation in the Insurance Industry
When it comes to securing new customers, efficiency matters. The more quickly you move a lead through the sales funnel, the better the chance that they will become a customer. Your goals are to keep them interested while competing with other companies for their business. Automation—and, in turn, faster documentation with less back-and-forth—closes deals faster.
Gaining new business is only one area where automation stands to make a difference. These are some other benefits of insurance automation:
- Reduces the error rate seen with manual processes
- Frees staff to be more responsive to customers
- Improves compliance by reducing mistakes and missed requirements
- Streamlines renewals to improve customer retention
- Eases onboarding of new customers
- Speeds up the claims process, a major source of customer dissatisfaction
- Improves the employee experience by better using their skills
How Much Can an Insurance Company Save with Automation?
All of the efficiencies listed above add up to cost savings. According to one report, automation in BPO stands to save 15 percent for offshore operations and as much as 45 percent for onshore operations. Another study says that insurance automation can reduce the cost of certain job functions by 30-40 percent.
Keep in mind that some of the benefits—take employee experience—are harder to quantify in terms of dollars but make a major difference in your day-to-day.
Robotic Process Automation in Insurance
A term you might hear with regard to automation is RPA, or robotic process automation (sometimes used interchangeably with “AI” or “artificial intelligence”). RPA is a facet of automation that relates to robots filling the function of humans. With RPA, a “robot” takes in information—such as a prospective customer would type into a quote request form. It then analyzes that information, communicates it with other systems as needed and executes a predetermined response based on the data. These responses can be tailored to the needs of a specific insurance company.
An RPA system can also collect information from disparate systems, such as the DMV or a county treasurer’s office. It can then analyze these pieces of information as a complete picture of an insured’s risk. There may be points along the way, however, where the judgment of a human being is required. This is where your talent can draw upon their expertise, without the tedium of the manual tasks in between.
Why Are Some Insurance Companies Reluctant to Adopt Automation?
Larger insurance companies fall prey to the greatest waste due to inefficiency. Yet, they often hesitate to adopt automation. A 2019 study from Price Waterhouse Cooper deemed the industry “sluggish” with regard to automation adoption. The pace has been picking up, however. Claims Journal wrote, in February 2020, “Today, both large-scale enterprises to nimble start-ups have started to unlock the power of emerging technologies such as AI, big data, and blockchain.” The race is on; those who embrace automation now will be a step ahead of the competition who continues to hesitate.
How Automation Empowers Your Insurance Workforce
Many emerging automation tools promise full, end-to-end automation for common insurance functions, such as quoting, certificate issuance, and payment processing. However, the real-world applications of these shows time and again that maintaining a human touch remains critical.
The Claims Journal article cited above goes on to say that, “automation is not about physical robots performing tasks on behalf of the human workforce. Instead, it is a collaborative effort for better decision-making across the customer management journey.” This is a useful way to look at integrating automation into insurance BPOs—as a collaboration. Human insurance talent can harness the power of automation, along with their own communication skills and intangible qualities, and provide the best possible customer experience.
Patra’s Role in the Automation Wave
Patra’s success with InsurTech has laid the foundation for the continued rollout of automation services designed to meet the evolving needs of the industry. We work to develop automation services that improve accuracy, efficiency and profitability.
Our innovative InsurTech products, including CertVault, QBIS, and PatraPay, each function in support of the expertise that only trained insurance professionals can offer. Whether it’s processing payments, improving security in certificate issuance and storage, or centralizing account management, technology and automation should work hand-in-hand with your team.
We’re optimistic for the future of automation in the insurance industry. We will continue to remain at the forefront of the automation wave, both by developing our own solutions and partnering with leading developers around the world.