The only topic being talked about these days is the ‘next’, or ‘new’, normal. There can be no doubt that the pandemic has had long-term and immediate effects on the economy and society as a whole.
It is hard to imagine life and work returning to what they were before. The future holds some uncertainty for everyone. The example of Estonia and its approach to running its public services is an unlikely but no less valuable source of inspiration. In order to combat the pandemic comprehensively, the country has made deep investments in digital capabilities.
A digital health system, for instance, allows doctors to remotely assess patients and apply tests when necessary, preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Consequently, no general practitioner has been infected, and the number of infections has reached just over 2000 in the population
The technology used here helps to safeguard people in a convenient and integrated way, enabling seamless communication from the moment of booking an appointment down to the moment of receiving results and getting advice. If insurers were smarter, they would emulate this type of experience.
Despite this, the next normal isn’t simply digital. The human side of organizational changes, such as homeworking, is at the heart of this, and it is this that is in turn driving further innovation. Many people in the industry feel that since so much change has already happened, now is the time to go even further. Insurers are also looking at other areas for change as the move to remote working appears to be here to stay.
One topic on which insurers focus is how well they serve their customers and how well they interface with their customers. Since the outbreak broke, insurers and customers have been calling in massive numbers, creating backlogs that are currently being worked through. In order to answer these inquiries, many customers are aiming for better facilitation of communication between them and their agents. For those who are willing to use chatbots, such tools can provide information, offer simple advice, and process basic claims.
As a result of the pandemic, all the major tech companies have performed well. In order to outwit these companies, insurers must be alert like never before and ready to take advantage of new opportunities as these companies explore other markets. In order to react effectively, insurers will need to adopt cloud capabilities that extend to the core of how they operate.
When insurers adapt to a massive change in behavior, business agility will be critical. Providing refunds on car insurance is one example. However, the rebalancing of how people live their lives and, via this, the risks they are exposed to, is likely just the beginning. It will be necessary to rethink policy models and more artificial intelligence is needed to help insurers understand and adapt to these changes. As well as identifying and assessing cyber and fraud risks, AI will be vital for effective risk management.
The industry has seen a number of changes over the last few months, and many of those changes were inevitable. Nevertheless, the new pace of change now forces insurers to utilize both their internal learnings and their customers’ openness to innovation. People who are open to innovation and can work together constructively to keep up with the new normals will have a far more successful and resilient future than those who are not.