Why insurance needs RPA to stay competitive
While digital transformation has been a priority for most companies in South Africa and around the world, the global pandemic has made it an even more pressing priority.
The shock of COVID-19 has put many companies in South Africa under severe cost pressure. Many companies face challenges on both the demand side and the supply side that reduce their revenues and in some cases increase their costs.
As consumers experience layoffs, COVID-19 infections, and many businesses close due to the pandemic, insurance companies are losing revenue as consumers and businesses terminate their contracts.
On the supply side, insurance companies are now seeing an increased number of COVID-19-related claims, both from consumers and businesses.
Even before the pandemic broke out, the entire insurance industry was exposed to market pressures due to the emergence of Insurtech, bringing with it additional competition, demanding regulatory requirements, internal product-based silos and various legacy systems.
The effects of COVID-19 and the existing market pressures are putting enormous pressure on insurance companies to transform themselves digitally and stay relevant. Insurance companies are now turning to robotic process automation (RPA) to help them digitally transform their business processes. With RPA, organizations can automate repetitive, everyday, rule-based tasks and mimic human behavior when interacting with software and applications.
Risk is paramount when it comes to underwriting as insurers strive to understand the real impact of COVID-19.
The information required to assess and analyze the risk is generally spread across several systems and data sets. Information is often contained in scanned documents, making this an extremely manual and tedious exercise, generally taking weeks if not months.
By providing virtual assistants, customer service agents can be more productive while reducing call handling times.
RPA, along with its cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, can automate this process to help underwriters convert dark (unstructured) data into structured data, consolidate relevant information, apply rules, and transform the information into a universal view of COVID -19 summarize exposure.
Receivables management is another process where RPA can add value. With much of the workforce having to work from home, claims that used to take weeks to process now take nearly a month to process, and some take even longer.
RPA provides a platform to first aggregate and collect multiple sources of claims data. Once the information is gathered, RPA can apply rules and logic to understand the severity of the claim, route high quality claims to claims managers and, in cases where the claim amount and the likelihood of fraud are low, automatically process the claim and payment the applicant.
The AI models then provide damage scoring algorithms to assess the cost of the damage and provide low, medium, and high ratings.
If the risk score for paying the claim is low, RPA will automatically send a confirmation to the customer informing them of the amount that will be paid for the claim. In cases where the risk score is high, claims are forwarded to a claims agent for processing.
Improved customer service
RPA can also add value in customer service. Often times, customer service representatives need to interact with multiple back office systems during a customer call. This can take some time and may result in you reaching out to a manager for approvals. With the automation visited, customer service reps get a single interactive form.
Behind the scenes, bots work with legacy and other systems to provide the agent with the information they need to service customers.
For example, if the agent is processing a claim for a certain value and needs to get approval before the process is complete, a bot can be used to automate the approval process so that the agent can stay in touch with the customer while his / her boss approves the Claim.
Based on rules and thresholds, approval can often be automated by a bot and only requires approval from a manager in certain cases. By providing virtual assistants, customer service agents can be more productive while reducing call handling times.
For example, an agent receives a call from an existing customer who wants to leave or cancel his policy. The call agent captures the customer’s account number in an interactive form, and the digital assistant (bot) then pulls all of the customer’s policy information, transaction history, and household information from multiple back-end systems.
The agent then triggers a request to offer the customer better pricing. The bot applies pricing scenarios and rules based on the portfolio and generates a new offer for the customer. If the customer is satisfied with the change, the agent accepts the new policy offer. Once accepted, the bot forwards the policy to the underwriting team for approval. Once approval is received, the agent closes the call and triggers a bot that sends the latest guidelines to the customer.
The examples above illustrate the value that can be derived from adding a digital workforce to the insurance industry. Organizations can expect to achieve greater operational efficiencies and an improved customer experience without the need for additional staff.
The automation possibilities for insurance companies are endless, and the sooner you start, the better.