Next Generation a Focus for Insurers at Oracle OpenWorld

It’s that time of year again, and this year, Oracle OpenWorld is bigger than ever for insurance companies. More than 600 insurance customers have descended on San Francisco to network, attend sessions, and learn about Oracle’s vision and strategy for the industry.

On Monday, Oracle Insurance senior vice president Don Russo reviewed results from an industry survey conducted by Oracle earlier this year. One of the most striking results from the survey was around customer service. Nearly two thirds of insurers said they could provide faster, more efficient service if they had better technology in place, and just over half said they could provide self-service options to their customers, such as web portals.

A customer panel during the insurance general session picked up on these results, with speakers from ING, Farmers Insurance and CIGNA outlining the challenges the industry faces in attracting a new generation of customers. Younger people are accustomed to researching and buying products online, and insurers that don’t offer online self-service may lose out to those that do. The panel outlined the steps their companies are taking to keep up with changing customer demands, including educational web sites that guide young consumers through a questionnaire to determine the right products for their needs.

Oracle’s sponsor for the insurance track, Cognizant, also focused on attracting the next generation, with a discussion on “the future of work.” Cognizant discussed how a new generation of workers is moving away from email to newer communication methods such as social media and texting, and how insurance companies can make work environments more flexible and open to attract younger workers.

Other challenges discussed during the general session included modernizing existing IT systems, which nearly one-third of insurers cited as their top technology issue. Oracle’s suite of adaptive, rules-driven systems is designed to fit into existing IT architectures, allowing “progressive renovation” to reduce the risk of a “big bang” replacement. Sessions on Oracle’s solutions for the Life, P&C and Healthcare insurance sectors continue all this week. Look for further blog entries as Oracle OpenWorld 2011 continues.

Lynne Sampson is senior marketer for Oracle Insurance.
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