IE wanted to know if low/no code platforms had finally resolved the issues attached to old school legacy systems. There are hundreds of different SaaS solutions out there for insurers, brokers and MGAs, plus some software can be bolted-on to existing older systems. The primary motivation across insurance industry IT 20 years ago was to reduce paper shuffling; archive paper records, printed policy docs, letters to consumers, clients and suppliers, physical photos of car accident damage etc.
Now however, it’s a very different and incredibly varied set of business targets, depending on your insurance niche. There is no one-size-fits-all software solution, that’s for sure. Yes, we are looking at you Windows XP.
So here’s a virtual roundtable of opinion and analysis from some companies right at the heart of insurtech, transformation and data management. It’s an Oktoberfest of expert opinion – spin the wheel!
SCALABILITY IS A CRUCIAL ELEMENT OF TRANSFORMATION
Craig Olivier, (below) Group CTO and co-founder, Genasys Technologies offered these insights;
Without doubt, legacy systems are still propping up aspects of the insurance industry but insurers, brokers and MGAs are heading in the right direction. There’s definitely a trend of players across the sector realising that they need more digital agility through low or no code capability to launch products quicker.
What’s exciting and ultimately beneficial for the consumer is that this realisation is triggering many insurance businesses to rethink their technology strategy overall and consider how they replatform. There’s a recognition that their legacy tech isn’t the solution to take them forward.
The flipside to this is that, as a result, some business leaders have been stung by promises of multi-year digital ‘transformation’ programmes to support replatforming which have played out as lengthy, time-consuming and expensive. The outcome? Companies have become stuck behind the curve in a never-ending cycle of digital ‘transformation’ that never really delivers the operational and financial value they were expecting, seriously denting corporate confidence. But it really doesn’t have to be this way.
Taking an approach to gradually scale your digital capability that forms part of an incremental value-add process lies at the heart of successful replatforming – helping to futureproof your customer offering and your operations.
Integral to this is transitioning to an API-first core platform to create your business ecosystem. Digital ability thrives when a tech stack is built around a single core platform with advanced, effective APIs enabling you to plug into tech innovation and multiple data sources when you need to, without having to switch everything off and do a whole programme reset. As a result, you’re empowered to connect, evolve and innovate. The commercial benefits? Delivering and succeeding fast all while wowing the policyholder – it’s a win-win for all.
CONNECTED DATA IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
Rich Tomlinson, (below) CEO at Percayso Inform consider three key questions;
There are still a lot of legacy systems about with various patches, plasters and workarounds going on. Whilst the word ‘legacy’ is often associated with being outdated or behind the curve, it’s not always bad. Businesses have to assess what is working and not working for them as a business. However, if there is evidence to suggest their legacy platforms aren’t delivering for the needs of a modern insurance business, then that’s when they should be considering a more substantial transformation. Given the pace of change in today’s market and the technology that is out there, those that don’t update their systems appropriately may find themselves falling behind and unable to compete effectively.
Can no/low code empower teams beyond the IT dept?
No/low code absolutely empowers teams beyond the IT departments and what is now possible here has accelerated massively in just the past 12 months. In addition to AI interfaces which have captured everyone’s attention of late, there have been less well publicised but nonetheless big strides in the use of no/low code technologies which enable both IT and non-IT professionals to build new functionality, adapt existing models and be more responsive to changing business needs. Percayso’s quote intelligence solution is just one example. Our tool allows insurers, MGAs and brokers to dynamically and intuitively build, adapt and optimise their data enrichment, rating and intelligence strategies in real time to have an immediate impact on the performance of their business.
Are software platforms now truly open across the insurance sector and gathering the right data from all sources?
I would say that some software platforms are truly open, but the reality is that many are not and there are still quite a few closed shops that make connections difficult either by design or a lack of functionality. In terms of gathering the right data, again, there are big differences across the main players. Some have a really wide range of connections and others much less so – any business looking to engage with a data partner definitely needs to do their homework!
NO CODE IS INEVITABLE, ACCEPT IT
“The expansion of no-code is inevitable,” says Simon Fenn, (above) Director at Pancentric Digital and the Go-Insur platform. “Like all innovations, eventually no-code will become a ‘utility’ and available in some form on most vendor platforms within a couple of years. And it will get smarter.”
“But will we see business execs launching insurance products independently of their IT function in 2025? Pre-defined schemes and variants – yes; we’re talking with clients about just this. Updating rates quickly and easily, absolutely. We already provide this capability. But building complex covers from scratch – no.
“Building complex products from scratch demands a broad church of skills, experience and governance beyond the no-code platform itself. I can’t see that changing in the foreseeable. Insurance is non-trivial, digitising and scaling insurance adds further operational complexity and commercial risk. It’s not a lone wolf exercise. You need a multi-functional team in place, incorporating IT, and a good partner vendor singing from the same hymn sheet.”
“And for smaller operations without big IT functions, I’d be wary of no-code. For simple ancillary covers, maybe – give it a shot if you have the confidence – but for more ambitious products, find a tech vendor that offers support as well as software. The right vendor will be worth their weight in gold. Here at Go-Insur we’ve worked extensively with small, close-knit senior management teams launching a number of highly successful ventures.”
THE POWER OF DATA NEEDS TO BE UTILISED
Francis Martin, CEO of The Insurance Emporium, sees smarter data use as being key to success in the future.
In the dynamic landscape of the UK insurance sector, data is undeniably the driving force behind innovation and transformation. The industry’s ability to manage and utilise data effectively has evolved significantly, reshaping the way insurers operate and interact with policyholders.
The FCA’s Consumer Duty regulation, which was introduced at the end of July this year [for new and existing products or services that are open to sale or renewal], is just one example of how vital it is for insurers to use data effectively. With the core principle being that firms must act to deliver good outcomes for customers, it is important insurers harness their data analytics to revolutionise their core processes from more accurate pricing, to understanding each and every customer’s needs and supporting them effectively.
While insurers will use data in a multitude of ways to help inform business decisions, customer outcomes are likely to rise on the list of priorities. Therefore, customer outcomes will now need to become another data set included in a firm’s data strategy, which should be reviewed frequently to help identify potential risks. By understanding the root cause of these issues, a business can then adapt their products, services and even their operations to ensure they provide customers with an effective and timely response.
On the flipside, what may become apparent during this newly engineered data process, is that a firm’s data set is poor, for instance it may be incomplete or inaccurate. If this data is imperative to monitoring and driving customer outcomes, it is essential for businesses to review their methods of collection to reduce these inconsistencies moving forward.
In conclusion, the UK’s insurance sector is undeniably embracing the power of data and reshaping the industry’s landscape. While great strides have been made, the sector must remain vigilant in addressing data-related challenges to continue its trajectory towards greater efficiency and customer-centricity.
YES, WE NEED MORE OPEN DATA, BUT SOMETIMES CODE IS THE ANSWER
René Schoenauer, (above) Director of EMEA Product Marketing, Guidewire Software, looks ahead to a more connected, open data approach, but stresses that some complex problems need a bespoke coded solution.
Has the industry finally ditched legacy systems or updated them successfully?
There have been a lot of modernisation initiatives in insurance IT over the last year and the industry has definitely made progress on this. At the same time, technology is accelerating at an unprecedented speed and so insurers are finding themselves having to constantly keep with the pace. This calls for the next generation of IT systems which are provided as SaaS where insurers are going to benefit from continuous and automated updates, helping them stay at the forefront of innovation. Those systems should also provide access to an ecosystem of vetted insurtechs and modern, granular APIs for plug and play solutions, which allows insurers IT departments to act as an innovation partner to their business departments.
Can no/low code empower teams beyond the IT dept?
No/low code tools definitely accelerate the innovation and development capabilities of insurers. Many tasks can be done easier and quicker without the need for IT intervention or waiting for maintenance windows.
As no/low code solutions do not require specific experience to update them, they are helpful to bring new products to market quickly or update current products to match customer demand. Also, the definition of most business rules in underwriting, service and claims can be simplified and accelerated by no/low-code capabilities.
However, IT teams will need to make sure that using no/low code applications do not create unforeseen problems down the line, such as from applications that are hard to adapt or work with in siloed operations. Also, in order to gain the most flexibility, IT should still be able to offer code-driven configuration in addition to no/low-code tooling as there will always be complex situations which are better and more efficiently solved with a code-based approach.
Is intelligent data sharing now truly open across the insurance sector?
There is more work to be done on intelligent data sharing. At the moment, it is held back because of the use of different categorisations and terminology for the same data. Even though there are offerings for insurers to standardise their internal data, there is a way to go for this to be rolled out across the industry due to the complex and costly process. The European Union is now looking into standardised data exchange, with the definition of FIDA, which is going to pave the road for Open Insurance.
To overcome this, insurers must leverage interoperability to enable different systems and devices to connect and communicate in an autonomous and coordinated way. Using higher levels of interoperability, insurers would create better sharing of data and therefore understanding of risk. This would lead to more accurate and efficient underwriting processes for customers.
Rory Yates, SVP Global Strategy at insurance platform provider EIS notes the flexibility offered by modern systems:
Rapid adaptation is critical to confronting the myriad headwinds insurers now face and is the single most important predictor of future success. Insurers that put adaptability at the heart of their businesses will leapfrog the competition and lead the industry into its next growth phase.
However, it’ll require a step change for an industry that’s mired in complexity, outmoded ways of working, and legacy tech.
Multiple books of business, but no single customer touch point across various service lines.
Separate organisations selling and servicing within one department, e.g. claims, while operating across many different touchpoints, and executed by many unintegrated third parties.
Simple changes that are expensive and take time to achieve.
Multiple changes pushed through one planning funnel, creating bottlenecks and only enabled by an expensive and high-value IT resource.
Third-party value potential that’s difficult to integrate and manage holistically, creating fragmentation and escalating costs. This coupled with low levels of data fluidity and intelligence, is restricting the ability to make experiences seamless for employees and customers.
These are the key reasons low-code/no-code, data-fluid platforms, built around the customer, will reshape the market for insurance. Not only do they resolve these issues, they also create huge amounts of extensibility. In parallel, monetising a wider ecosystem of partners requires an ability to rapidly manifest the benefit of an integration in every relevant customer interaction. This is at the heart of the ROI and competitive success of modern low-code/no-code platforms.
AUTOMATION AND ANALYSIS
Richard Beaven, (below) COO of Academy Insurance has been tracking the benefits of modern software and one of the key takeaways is freeing up time to deal with customer service queries.
At Academy we have democratised data through a new reporting tool that shares our targets and results company-wide so that all our people can see how we are doing. We are also automating as much as is sensible, including in HR and reconciliation, freeing people up to focus on servicing customers or helping those who do.
“Now we see people and tech going hand in hand, customers want to speak to people but want to have the option of self-help too.
“The power of data to drive great customer outcomes, for complaints and root cause analysis, claims information and progress, is coming together fast, giving us a holistic view of the whole customer experience not a chopped up view of the parts
“Data systems for brokers are no longer a barrier to entry, and powerful tools like Powerbi are critical. Many brokers lack the expertise to do their own thing, and hiring software developers is difficult because they’re expensive and in short supply. Choosing powerful partners is often the key, rather than attempting to ‘tech up’ inhouse.”
DOES LOW CODE EMPOWER TEAMS? YES AND NO
IE fired some quick questions at Matt Thorby, (below) Head of Motor, EU Claims at Verisk;
Has the industry finally ditched legacy systems or updated them successfully?
This is largely true of the main motor insurers, predominantly in the personal lines arena. Many of the top 10 insurers have made the investment across the whole policy lifecycle to move to a more digital first proposition and this necessarily means a move away from legacy systems and architecture. Motor fleet underwriters and some of the smaller personal lines businesses are still very much in a transition phase, some continue to run with older legacy platforms meaning that integrations to the insurance eco-system remains challenging for those wishing to realise the benefits of improved customer experience and internal efficiencies through automation.
Can no/low code empower teams beyond the IT dept?
Yes and no. Configuring a no code tool set to deliver automation and digital services is without doubt much faster than traditional code based development and doesn’t require the development skills traditionally deployed to build/change solutions. It does still require rigour and skilled colleagues. Many of the use cases for no code platforms remain mission critical so the underlying processes needed to understand full requirements, designing a solution and workflow that meets those needs both functional and non-functional in nature remain, alongside testing and ensuring good governance and resilience is maintained to deliver enterprise level solutions (which we’d consider ourselves as expert in). A need to integrate to other solutions and third party applications/data sources remains and these remain the domain of the IT departments so collaboration and coordination is critical to deliver successful results.
Is software now truly open across the insurance sector, is data sharing working for MGAs, brokers and insurers alike?
Our market place is as competitive as ever, sharing Intellectual Property and data is key to decisions on how open the participants in our sector chose to be. There’s no doubt that there are many positive examples of how software is becoming more open across the policy life cycle and the flow of data to enable joined up solutions continues to grow.
Want more Low Code vs Legacy insights? Altus Consulting weighs up the pros n cons here.
FLEXIBILITY IS KEY
Manoj Pant who is Senior Director and EMEA Insurance Industry Principal at Pega, looks at the evolution of both legacy and low code systems.
Has legacy been finally consigned to history by low or no-code systems?
“It’s an ongoing process that’s taking some time, but the results are beginning to show. Legacy persists due to systems not able to support new business needs and lack scalability and agility. Sorting this out is where low code slots in and is picking up momentum. Low code systems react quickly to changing business needs, drive innovations and boots productivity of business and IT teams in an agile environment. Low code systems are helping insurers to develop future proof applications by utilising modern APIs and microservice architecture that are cloud based. Applications developed using low code system will always evolve and extend and will support changing business needs for insurers.
There are many examples of low code system powering insurers with speed and agility, and one insurer that I have worked closely with used a low code system to decouple process from legacy systems, developed new processes and efficiently integrated with downstream and legacy systems by using APIs.”
Is the insurance sector really seeing benefits from shared third party data, plug-ins, layered data?
“Data is asset for insurance organisations as it helps with accurate risk assessment and pricing. But insurers know they need to go beyond the data shared by a policyholder. Modern insurance software platforms and their support for API plug ins are making it easier to access and use third party data for several key workflows like risk scoring, past claims history in underwriting. The benefits are extending into marketing with interaction history data and pre-fill details, and exposing fraudulent claims and improving customer retention.
There is another spectrum of data that insurers are utilising from the feeds they receive from connected insurance or Internet of Things (IoT) devices. These not only to provide better customer services and experience but also give insights using advance analytics and real time intelligence that enable recommendations on preventive measures and in some cases prevent or minimise loses. For example, a high net worth property insurer is using data received from home IoT devices to provide 24×7 monitoring and taking proactive actions in case of fire, bust pipes, gas leakage, etc.”
Can legacy be updated with no code bolt on, or software upgrades successfully?
“Replacing legacy with new systems could be complex and can result in huge costs and business disruption. Low code can wrap around those legacy systems and leverage APIs and microservices architecture to integrate and develop apps quickly to replace legacy application and modules that need replacing over a planned period of time.”