A GUIDE TO TECH BUZZWORDS FOR INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS
Emerging technologies dominate insurance headlines and conferences today, offering digital strategies to enhance multi-channel customer engagement, automation, and operational efficiency. The overwhelming buzz requires companies to distinguish practical, cutting-edge strategies from bleeding-edge red herrings.
This article presents an overview of current trends coupled with realistic use cases in insurance. Learn which technologies are helping insurers modernize, improve customer experience, and advance digital data collection, and which are low-return distractors.
Insurers seeking to anticipate evolving needs, connect with customers, and achieve operational excellence must create and maintain modern internal structures. Here are some of the buzzwords powering these changes:
1) InsureTech-Powered Solutions
As discussed in a previously published article, “InsureTechs: Pioneering New Practices in Insurance,” InsureTechs are challenger companies spearheading modernization in insurance with a “technology-first” mentality. They are rapidly replacing traditional processes and products with technology-powered and customer-centric programs. Established players are engaging InsureTech disruptions by competing with, underwriting for, or investing in InsureTech-powered solutions. Learn more at https://www.pamic.org/blog/5631845.
2) Modern Insurance Processing Systems
Insurers have spent the better part of a decade transitioning from inflexible legacy systems to modern core systems. From 2013–2017, core system replacement was the top priority for carriers, focusing on operational efficiency for policy administration, claims, billing, and more. Today, companies are engaging with technology providers whose products extend beyond core to support noncore, data, and digital capabilities.
- System Types
Carriers select their core systems from an array of platforms:
Monolithic platforms offer all features and functionality in a single suite. Components of the suite work together to form one, self-contained application. Any alterations to the system are made at the platform level.
Modular platforms can be deployed either as an entire integrated platform or made available as stand-alone elements. For example, a claims management module that is part of a broader core platform may be deployed on a stand-alone basis if the system is modular in nature.
Microservice architecture is an alternative way to develop and deploy software applications. Applications are created as a suite of independently deployable, component services. Microservices run distinct, separate processes and are built with extensive communication capabilities for seamless interaction with other microservices. For example, an insurer could use a rating microservice to instantaneously provide quotes to an agent, underwriter, and customer frontend portals.
- Application Programming Interface (API)
API is the process through which software servers send requests for information and receive information. APIs create frictionless microservice, vendor, and system integrations for accurate information transfer. A policyholder app may send user-submitted risk information to a backend processing system, receive a quote based on the submitted information, and provide the policyholder with a quote in a matter of seconds, all through API calls.
The cloud is a network of connected services that manage, distribute, and connect computers. Insurers increasingly use cloud-hosted services to enhance storage capacity, security, and accessibility. Many cloud deployment options are available:
- Public Cloud
Public cloud refers to cloud hosting offered by a third-party vendor, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. By removing expensive barriers to hosting, maintenance, and upgrading, insurers have complete control over their information. Public cloud hosting can be multi-tenant or single-tenant:
- Multi-Tenant Hosting
In multi-tenant hosting, multiple clients work from the same cloud instance and database. Though generally cheaper, overuse can slow the instance and database. Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, like Adobe Creative Cloud or Netflix, use multi-tenant hosting to provide access to services from a third-party cloud.
- Single-Tenant Hosting
Under single-tenant hosting, each client is hosted on its own instance, meaning each client has its own website and database. Single-tenant hosting offers increased flexibility, scalability, and security.
- Multi-Tenant Hosting
- On-Premises or Private Cloud
Private cloud, on-premises (hosted by the insurer), and vendor-hosted deployment use virtualization tools and dedicated IT resources rather than cloud technology to maintain administration processes. This deployment model is almost obsolete, as 94% of companies use or are actively planning to use cloud services.
- Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud strategies blend traditional on-premises and cloud hosting strategies. Some carriers adopt a hybrid strategy when migrating from on-premises hosting to cloud hosting. Insurers interested in integrating a digital cloud strategy can use Amazon Web Services hybrid tools during implementation.
For more information on how insurance companies are using cloud technology to increase agility, enhance accessibility, lower IT costs, and automatically scale their business, read our previously published article at http://blog.britecore.com/blog/cloud-technology-still-a-bit-cloudy-1.
Customer Experience Enhancement
Insurers are applying new technologies to enhance customer experience, focusing on efficient, connected, easy-to-use, self-service processes