This latest article by Richard Stewart, CEO and co-founder of productivity-boosting insurtech maker Untangl, looks at five things boosting productivity in insurance companies today. Which are you missing out on?
Robots are being deployed to take over repetitive tasks traditionally performed by humans; and they’re making workforces more efficient, freeing up people to focus on the meaningful, often more creative tasks rather than mind-numbing admin, like formatting spreadsheets full of employee data simply so IT systems can recognise them.
While robotic process automation (RPA) relates to the replication of a physical process – typically a simple task that does not require any decision-making – cognitive automation (CA) is replacing complex processes where a human is required to think, interpret information and act. McKinsey found that, across 16 business case studies, introducing RPA saw a return on investment of between 30% and 200% in the first year.
Because neither needs to impact existing IT systems, there’s no reason not to test RPA or CA. Yet, more than three quarters (76%) of insurers say their employees are more digitally mature than their organizations, resulting in a workforce that is waiting for their company to catch up, according to a revealing survey by Accenture.
Whether hosted in the cloud or on-premises, digital workplaces support communication and project collaboration, and convey culture to the furthest reaches of your remote workforce. One of the biggest productivity boosts comes from being able to search for information and content quickly, rather than having to run searches on email and multiple communication apps. A McKinsey study found that internal social media – a feature common to most digital workplaces – creates a searchable data bank that reduces employee time spent hunting for company information by up to 35%, freeing up an estimated 6% of the working week for other tasks.
A recent study by Henley Business School found that moving to four-day weeks could save U.K. businesses more than £104billion a year through increased staff productivity, as well as improved physical and mental health. In addition, half of the businesses surveyed had already enabled a four-day working week for either some or all of their staff which had resulted in savings of almost £92 billion per year – around 2% of total turnover.
Industry advocates include broker Simply Business which, from next month (September 2019), is trialling moving its call centre staff from a five-day or 37.5-hour week to a 30 hour week with no loss of pay.
Insurtech shows no signs of slowing. The year-over-year growth rate for insurtech in 2019 was predicted to be 45.66% according to a report from TechNavio, which also expects the global insurtech market to grow by USD $15.63 billion over the next five years.
Insurtech is reshaping the industry, improving how we analyse and transform data, assess risk, deal with customers, personalise policies and refine our pricing. Yet, almost a third (32%) of insurers do not engage with fintech at all, according to a 2016 report by PwC, which also says that incumbent insurers and fintech companies do not yet have well-established business relations. Insurers say their main concern is IT security (51%) while fintechs say their main obstacle when dealing with incumbent insurance companies is differences in management and culture (54%).
Yet the future of the industry relies on our agility. Insurers need to embrace the challenge and view disruptive tech as a strategic opportunity. To do this, they will need a cultural change where decisions can be executed more swiftly. That has to start, in my view, with a board-level innovation strategy.
Entrepreneurs overwhelmingly (86%) believe that company culture helps productivity, according to The Alternative Board. Culture can dictate the process of decision making and how well teams communicate. Agile teams are better able to respond and reactive to change as it comes, rather than being blindsided.
Furthermore, research by University of Michigan found that implementing positive practices in the workplace – such as respectful treatment and personal development – can improve job performance, reverse counterproductive behaviour and correlates with overall profitability and productivity.