Adding Per-Worker Value with Intelligent Automation

Of all the headline-grabbing risks faced by today’s insurers — regulatory changes and political uncertainty, cybercrime, the impact of disruptive technologies, startups and innovation — one of the most challenging risks gets startlingly little attention: the need to attract and keep talent.

Aon’s Global Risk Management Survey 2017 ranked talent retention fourth in its list of top ten risks to the insurance, finance and investment industry. Aon researchers expect the issue to persist over the next five years.

Business leaders across industries and geographies are exploring the relationship between humans and automated processes. PwC’s Workforce of the Future found that over half of execs are actively considering the benefits of the collaboration of people and machines, and nearly 40 percent are considering the impact of AI on their future skills needs.

“Finding the skills they need has become the biggest threat to their business,” according to the PwC analysis, “but the skills they’re looking for are particularly telling: problem-solving, adaptability, collaboration, leadership, creativity and innovation top the list.”

The industry-agnostic report goes on to note, “By replacing workers doing routine, methodical tasks, machines can amplify the comparative advantage of those workers with problem solving, leadership, EQ (Emotional Intelligence), empathy and creativity skills.”

It should come as no surprise that these same qualities define the individuals already working in today’s insurance workforce. With insurance industry employment rates at a near-historic low and a tight labor pool, a dangerous risk for insurers exists in losing top talent to organizations that better understand how to make the most of their investment in people.

Automating routines for better productivity — and more worker satisfaction

“Each step along the claims life cycle has the potential to be improvised by emerging technologies, enabling improved service for the customer—and thus increasing the potential for more engaged employees, as workers shift their focus away from routine tasks to activities with the greatest need for creative problem-solving and human ingenuity.”

                — Deloitte, Human Capital Trends in the Insurance Industry 2016

A recent insurance labor outlook published by Jacobson and Ward indicates that technology, analytics and claims roles are expected to grow the greatest during the next 12 months. In typical insurance organizations, the claims process involves the most paper-bound and labor-intensive routines.

Paper works well for insurers because it remains an effective way to collect complex information, and is a useful tool for explaining detailed policies and other heavily layered concepts. However, manually mining claims data removes adjusters from the work they are trained and hired to do.

In 2014, Celent analysts Colleen Risk and Tom Scales surveyed key North American life insurance company executives in an attempt to develop best practice guidelines for the claims process. Monks and Scales asked participants, “What is the one thing you would like to change in your life claims process?”

Replies included correspondence integration and automation, front-end automation to capture mortality data, web-based claim forms, and using a single workflow platform to automate the full claims cycle.

When claims and other policy information is normalized into structured digital data, low-value, low-skill manual data processing tasks can be replaced by higher value activities — such as improving business conversion, targeting new segments, and supporting new (and old) modes of customer experience.

IA frees up highly-trained employees from the drudgery of repetitive tasks, enabling them to perform activities that are more satisfying, engaging, and valuable for the company. Higher levels of employee engagement translate into better employee retention rates and help to hold down the cost of replacement.

Reducing the time and effort it takes to research, complete and process claims can add significant labor savings to the bottom line. Deploying a straightforward IA solution that does not require a costly “rip and replace” endeavor or a complete ERP overhaul can be an economically effective, reasonable and forward-thinking solution for existing life insurers.

Vidado turns structured and unstructured data into the business-ready data that positions insurance companies for the evolving digital future. To discover how some of the country’s most influential insurers are using Vidado to unlock customer data, go here.

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