Recently we attended the 2019 Caribbean Insurance Conference—a great experience, filled with fantastic conversations. The theme of the event was, “The Shifting Landscape in Insurance: The Challenge of Change.” The majority of the talk at the conference centered around how customer expectations are being radically altered, creating new demands on insurers, and increasing the importance of providing unbeatable customer experiences as a corporate priority. Hand-in-hand with that, were a variety of presentations on emerging technologies and innovation—including our own session on “Using Big Data to Support Advisor Decisions and Drive Opportunities.”
It appears that what is on most people’s’ minds is marketing, machine learning and IFRS 17.
IFRS 17—The shifting landscape in insurance
On the final day there was an excellent presentation by Marcus Bosland and Garfield Reece on IFRS 17. This new International Financial Reporting Standard was issued by the International Accounting Standards Board in May of 2017 but won’t take effect until January 1, 2021 (at the earliest). Even though the implementation may be two or three years away, the complexities of changing the way insurance contract liabilities are calculated and adjusting to different risk provisions ensures that organizations need to understand the regulation and adapt now.
All life insurance stakeholders would benefit from the clear explanation that was given of IFRS 17 — how it differs from IFRS 4 (which it replaces) and what it means for enterprises. It was refreshing to hear a complex issue broken down in an actionable way, without much of the typical Big 4 accounting firm arcane vocabulary.
The clear message from the session? Best prepare now.
From data warehouses to data lakes
On Monday, June 3rd our Equisoft team presented on “Using Big Data to Support Advisor Decisions and Drive Opportunities”. We explored the benefits of moving from data warehousing to a data lake—which is a repository of all enterprise data, both structured, as in a database, or unstructured, as in emails or image files. Data lakes are easily updated and very flexible, making them great for analytics and machine learning, which can be used to greatly enhance customer interactions and product development.
In particular, advisor CRM’s like Equisoft/connect can be turned into data lakes that leverage information contained in carrier back office systems, distributor back offices, and FNA’s like Equisoft/plan. All of this data is very useful in driving marketing automation in which companies and advisors can take advantage of software and web services to execute, manage, and automate marketing tasks, such as:
- Creating personalized emails based on client behavior
- Identifying opportunities based on client data
- Tracking performance and offering advice
- Collecting and organizing client data to surface insights
A complete ecosystem that integrates big data, CRM and marketing automation can help companies actively grow their client-base and AUM with low time investment.
The data-driven customer experience
Based on the response to our presentation and the discussions we had during the conference, it’s clear that carriers are starting to understand the need to market online and enhance the online sales process to support their advisors in a much more detailed way than has been done before. No longer can life insurance carriers leave it to individual agents, brokers and advisors to figure out how and when to communicate with prospects and clients.
Customer expectations are greater than ever before, and the bar is only getting higher. Insurers must find ways to deliver a highly targeted message with complete consistency (whether the campaign is being delivered by a carrier, MGA or advisor) to ensure that all customers will be delighted by the experience. And, the interaction between the client and the insurer, distributor and advisor must be seamlessly multi-channel in order to forge deep client relationships. What we have found is that those things are only possible if a company is fully able to leverage its client information.
Data is now a driver of the customer experience and a critical factor in the success of all industry stakeholders in attracting and retaining clients. At Equisoft, we foresee that, over the next 5-10 years, our industry will be transformed by machine learning and AI. Analytics engines will leverage huge volumes of data, enabling us to build innovative solutions that deliver deeply personalized service. The new era of data is coming and life insurance companies are getting ready to take full advantage of it.