In many industries, the changes brought about by digital technology are already evident. Industries as diverse as entertainment, travel, and retail have been disrupted by the emergence of new players using technology to create products and services that offer something new or better. These digital-only players have staked out a valuable position with consumers—and traditional companies are feeling the impact. Just ask the TV companies competing with Netflix, the travel companies competing with Travelocity and Expedia, and the retailers competing with Amazon.
The Sri Lankan insurance industry has taken longer to join the rush to a universe of bits. The sales model of agents helping consumers figure out which products to buy has largely remained intact in Western countries, and most insurers haven’t yet felt a big impact from digitization on their revenues.
That is changing as more and more consumers begin to handle their insurance transactions online. A new ecosystem is taking shape, and it will affect every part of the insurance-industry value chain. Companies that don’t adapt will become increasingly vulnerable.
The good news is that digitization doesn’t necessarily mean that traditional insurers will be “Amazed.” In every area of insurance, all over the world, traditional insurers can use the Internet, mobile technology, and social media—as well as some reworked legacy technologies—to fend off new rivals and get ahead of long-time competitors. The challenge lies in coming up with a road map for digitization: where to start, what to change, how much to invest, and how to make it all happen.
Being one of top insurance brands in Sri Lanka , The Continental Insurance Lanka Limited foreseen the consumer attitudes in increasingly dynamic General Insurance environment in Sri Lanka by launching carefully crafted digitalization road map towards achieving technologically most advanced insurer.
Keeping in par with consumer sentiment, The Continental Insurance facilitates insurers to be a hybrid of online transactions and interactions with sales or service people through direct integration with back-end servicing platforms. For remote-only users the responsive , mobile enabled servicing platform interfaces common transactions—such as buying a policy, submitting a claim, and modifying an existing policy—easier to use and more intuitive. This is a recognition of shift in attitude, which is happening across all socioeconomic groups and applies to every type of insurance, should be enough to get the industry’s attention all by itself.
The trend of consumers handling more of their insurance needs on their own is already evident in the early stages of the insurance-buying process. The vast majority of consumers do the bulk of their initial research online, using tools such as search engines and comparison engines, over which insurers have little control. Most of these customers do still turn to agents to finalize their purchases, and that may lead some insurers to think that their traditional networks retain their old relevance. A step ahead of innovation curve, The Continental Insurance’s virtual service agent approach taken as viral and one of most popular options among majority of customers as indicated in internal customer satisfaction surveys. The customers are facilitated with querying claims status , progressive steps in claims by simply interacting with virtual service agents.
The Continental Insurance understand that digitization is starting to influence the way they do business. As a result many strategic initiatives devised a road map for how to change. It’s understood and identified best place to start is with the three parts of the value chain on which digitization is likely to have the biggest impact: internal operations, go-to-market strategies, and risk.
The Continental Insurance have made the most headway here. The claims processing platforms fully operationalized on paperless environment. External business channels are directly integrated with the benefits stem partly from straight-through processing, which reduces insurers’ use of paper processes and lowers their transaction costs. Digitization of operations also involves developing interfaces for financial institutions , brokers —again, with the goal of streamlining processes and reducing costs.
In many cases, the new guard of digital-only approach through paperless processes and highly efficient approaches to handling transactions, which has allowed The Continental Insurance to build a significant advantage in terms of variable costs. The per-policy processing costs of comparatively to traditional insurers lowered due to eClaims processing approach remain proving competitive edge.
Another approach by The Continental Insurance adopted to increase efficiency is by introducing self-service portals. Such portals allow policyholders to do certain transactions online, without any paperwork or assistance. Insurers face a challenge with the self-service approach, however—The Continental Insurance to go beyond the mere digitization of existing processes and offer an experience that truly takes advantage of the medium.
More self-service options could reduce the burden on these independent agents as well without necessarily increasing customers’ loyalty to the insurers themselves. This is an unintended consequence that Continental Insurance taking into to special attention at the time of enabling self-servicing portals.
The Continental Insurance Lanka aggressively explores Go-to-Market Strategies via digital means. By far the biggest go-to-market opportunity for insurer involves the development of direct sales, which usually take place online and are not brokered by an intermediary. The facilities such as buying a policy , pay premium online , facilitating premium collections through across the island via KIOSK machines promotes direct customer interaction with Continental Insurance Lanka Limited digitally. Once of most popular service provides is facilitating eInsurace certificate. These sales have been slow to materialize in the industry because of resistance from traditional sales channels and because of the inherent complexity of insurance products. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Continental Insurance Lanka have seen early success with direct sales haven’t had any channel conflicts to worry about; sell insurance online or through telephone fulfillment staffs and don’t rely on agents to generate business.
Alternative good example is Continental Insurance Lanka serving customers with its intuitive graphics and easy-to-use search tools, the company’s online service is bridging the gap that has traditionally separated consumers from insurers.
An innovative approach which is currently serving greater popularity is online real-time claims processing through virtual assessor platform where Continental Insurance adopts strategic advantage of implementing such approach only during a loss but also at the point of releasing vehicles after repairs. Customer empowered to digitally sign off documents on any mobile device lead to speedy release of vehicle from a garage. Operationally per claims processing cost reduce by eliminating assessor visits that generates overheads.
The external business channels directly linked with Continental Insurance digital platforms facilities all necessary information from policy creation to policy serving through digitally. Once of key benefit is eRenwal notices. The business channels could directly able to access renewal notices timely on real time without waiting hard copies printed and posted to premises.
Direct sales are destined to take significant share from traditional business channels by digital means at Continental Insurance, making investments in this area not just an add-on source of revenue but recognized as competitive necessity. However, direct sales are only going to work for insurers that rethink how they build, develop, and market their products. The experience needs to feel new, not like the same old interaction transferred to a new medium.
The second big go-to-market approach by Continental Insurance lies in giving their full-time salespeople digital-sales tools. Sales MI application system includes keeping sales forces with required necessary MI such as achievements vs targets , renewal reminders , cancellation details , with some aspects of lead generation and customer service information that make it easier for sales agents to up-sell and cross-sell. The tools mobile enabled can access from any device. One of key feature of the system tool was ability of sales teams preview trends of individual performance and hierarchical performance. The sales agents are able to display benefit information and generate price quotes on the spot, eliminating the inconvenience of follow-up meetings and increasing the likelihood that customers will make impulse buys.
Underwriting is one area of risk in which insurers could capitalize on digitization. The science of using actuarial tables and other statistics to create and price insurance products has been around for well over a century and is quite mature. But Continental Insurance steps ahead with information from social media, GPS systems, adaptation of heat maps increased the ability to assess risk.
For instance, Continental Insurance starting to use data gathered by mobile-phone applications to determine potential risk areas at the time of issuing a policy , deciding riders with matching premiums for new clients—a segment-of-one approach that could make it possible for demonstrably to pay lower premiums. That data could also help the Continental Insurance to adjust the prices of policies in subsequent years and more accurately assess the risk of each policyholder.
And also in claims management, Continental Insurance with more sophisticated approaches to data are already doing a better job of identifying outline claims, thus reducing their exposure in an area that has historically accounted for a disproportionate percentage of payouts. For example, if an insurer is able to recognize that the injuries suffered by someone in a car accident are atypical, it could arrange for more effective early treatment—thereby lowering the total reimbursements it must make to hospitals and physicians.
The intersection of devices and loss prevention—the vaunted Internet of Things—presents another wide-open area of opportunity aggressively approached successfully by Continental Insurance.
There’s also the possibility of competition from companies that haven’t traditionally been direct sellers of insurance, such as automobile original-equipment manufacturers, airlines, and telecommunications companies. In short, the threat to insurers’ business models could come from just about anywhere.
For insurance companies, digitization is a complex equation with three variables: consumers’ evolving preferences, changes in insurers’ internal operations and technology, and emerging ways to assess, analyze, and manage risk. These changes create the possibility of a very different future. Direct players could become business process outsourcers, offering their platforms for others to use as delivery mechanisms for low-cost insurance products. Internet specialists and affinity marketers could alter traditional insurance-distribution channels.
The Continental Insurance adopts a very resilient digital road map with a stack of state of art technologies that would well align with altered ecosystem and new partnership possibilities. As new players emerge-in some cases with unique value propositions beyond traditional insurers Continental Insurance well position themselves to changing consumer trends of increasingly competitive Sri Lanka Insurance Industry with a well-crafted digital road map.