Wednesday Sep 02, 2015

6 Sources of Gridlock in Insurance Product Development

Time is money. Benjamin Franklin said it back in 1748 not knowing how relevant that statement would be to insurance companies in the twenty-first century. Rapidly emerging market conditions in the last decade are driving high demand for new insurance products. Today, developing new insurance products is a matter of necessity for corporate survival, yet product development remains at a snail’s pace.

Insurers are well aware of this problem. They’re concerned that they’re not adapting fast enough to changing markets. Around the world, the average time needed to launch a new insurance product from concept to sale ranges from six to twelve months, according to RGA. The longer it takes to get these products out to market, the more revenue losses insurers face.

What’s the root cause of the sluggishness?

Every professional knows all too well the inherent delays coordinating multiple departments within an organization. In insurance, complexity is ingrained in the industry. The process starts with the product development team bringing together people from claims, IT, underwriting, state filings, sales, marketing, and legal. They meet, discuss ideas, and set up action items. They schedule future meetings, share drafts, get input, revise drafts. And the cycle continues for several months. More meetings, more documents, more revisions, and various sign-offs—all before filing to individual departments of insurance via SERFF. After filing, the approval process is at the mercy of each state DOI.

There is no single culprit responsible for the slow pace of product development. However, one thing is for sure: the day-to-day business processes that come as second nature to most of us are contributing to the gridlock.

Here are five ways insurers may unknowingly be slowing down product development:

  1. Creating manual reports with spreadsheets.
    Product development managers rely heavily on spreadsheet reports in order to stay informed, organized, and have a quick reference handy. Many people still rely on Excel spreadsheets to manually track state filings, historical filing data, and DOI forms. Managers typically create manual spreadsheets to track staff productivity.

    Spreadsheets are time-consuming and leave insurers vulnerable to data entry mistakes. Insurers need to avoid manual processes like creating and updating spreadsheets as much as possible, and instead, seek automated solutions with report-generating capabilities.

  2. Using e-mail to collaborate.
    Consider the hundreds of e-mails that insurance staffers exchange while collaborating on the development of a single insurance product:

    “I missed the last conference call. Could we go over the deadlines?”
    “Did legal confirm the status of their approvals?”
    “Marketing didn’t get cc-ed on the last email. Could you resend it?”

    With one central database accessible to all users, insurers can radically improve efficiency and eliminate the need for time-consuming internal correspondence. Lawyers, underwriters, actuaries, and others involved in product development need to be able to log into one place, share information and immediately make it accessible to all, and post messages to other staffers.

  3. Using Microsoft Word.
    Insurance product development is a very document-intensive operation. Documents go through multiple rounds of revision, passing from one department to another. Word has basic track changes functionality, but it’s not the ideal solution for product development. Just as messages need to be stored in a central place accessible to all users, so do all notes, drafts, and revisions.

  4. Researching GIs (general information requirements) by visiting each state DOI website.
    If you’ve bookmarked all the DOI websites for every state and jurisdiction on your browser or listed them in a spreadsheet, you might think you’ve created your own research shortcuts. There are smarter ways to research if you have the right tools. Your tech solution should provide all the information you need in one place.

  5. Having separate storage places for DOI correspondence, completed state filings, filings under development, forms, requirements, and more.
    Again, the importance of a central database cannot be overstated. These documents need to be accessible and searchable, especially for the key players in the product development process. State filing analysts need constant access to filings, and actuaries need access to filing forms and records of historical roadblocks in each state.

  6. Converting to pdf manually.
    In many cases, DOIs require that certain documents be submitted as pdfs. On the surface, creating pdfs might seem to be relatively easy to do with a couple clicks. However, depending on the file you’re working with, you can run into problems in the conversion process such as loss of image quality or complications from hyperlinks, layouts, or certain fonts.

    The ideal tech solution for insurance product development has the ability to not only convert automatically to pdf, but also allow for native Excel format when necessary.

It may be difficult to imagine eliminating the business processes above from your routine, but with the right tech solution, you can radically speed up product development, from the beginning stages all the way through approval.

Oracle Insurance Compliance Tracker, the only third party software integrated with SERFF, was designed specifically for the insurance industry to speed creation and submission of regulatory filings. Insurers who use Oracle Insurance Compliance Tracker have reported huge productivity boosts of up to 50 percent.

If you’re interested to see what Oracle Insurance Compliance Tracker can do for you

For more information on Oracle Insurance Compliance Tracker, visit oracle.com/insurance.

Don’t forget to keep up with us year-round:

Thursday Jun 11, 2015

A Practical Approach to Defining the Digital Customer Experience in 2015

A decade ago, the digital experience meant simply having a functional website. We’ve seen how social media, mobile apps, and big data can enhance relationships and deepen the connection between businesses and consumers. With so many possible touch points, businesses run the risk of overwhelming customers with a hodgepodge of digital strategies gone awry.

Is there a magic formula to define the ideal digital experience or measure a successful customer experience in 2015? Pose this question in a public forum, and you’ll get hundreds of answers from consultants, analysts, and other self-proclaimed experts. For this post, we’ll keep it simple.

Click "Read More" to view the full article. We’ll look at three successful companies that epitomize first class experiences at various stages of the customer journey.

[Read More]

Friday May 15, 2015

Customer Communications Management for the Digital Age

Think of the last boss that drove you crazy. He had extremely high expectations, demanded everything to be done right away and always put his personal convenience above all else. If you didn’t deliver, he’d find someone else to replace you in a heartbeat. Meet the new hyperconnected consumer.

In today’s digital age, mobile technology has drastically changed the power dynamic between business and consumers. Consumers literally hold in their hands more power than ever before through their digital devices. Smartphones, tablets and laptops keep them online 24/7, which empowers them with virtually unlimited information accessible within minutes.

Read the full article to learn more...

[Read More]

Wednesday Oct 15, 2014

Leveraging New Technologies to Improve Customer Engagement

Social media and new technologies dominate the marketing landscape, which means consumers’ attention spans are shorter than ever.  New apps, call-to-actions, and other customer communications tools are being thrown in consumers’ faces each day.  The task of attracting an audience’s interest and maintaining it for the long term is a daunting one.  If your company can’t attract an audience’s attention from their very first visit, you risk the chance of them never returning. Customer Communications Management systems allow institutions to effectively monitor customer engagement and transform that data into results.

Guest blogger A.D. Kent, Managing Partner for DocVentive, discusses the topic in today’s post:

In a world where everything is interconnected with information at your fingertips, technology is fundamentally changing how consumers engage content. The rapid adoption of smart phones and tablets affords convenience and control over content, while easy access to social media sites creates an unprecedented sense of community and engagement at the touch of a button. In short, consumers are demanding information that is contextually relevant with their interests and provides an experience that they can interact with.

So, what does this mean if you're an Insurer or Financial Institution looking for a competitive advantage? Well, you should view each piece of correspondence with your customers as a chance to engage and monetize through personalized content. This means looking for opportunities to gather information with each encounter, and using that information to refine targeted messaging and content on the next communication event. This also necessitates reliance upon a robust Customer Communication Management (CCM) platform capable of delivering on these goals – an exercise that isn't exactly native to the present-day CCM vendor solutions. Nonetheless, through this continual refinement of correspondence, you can empower and satisfy the consumer in ways that fit the social patterns and behaviors that they desire most.

Click "Read More" to view the rest of the article. 

[Read More]

Thursday Jun 30, 2011

News about Oracle Documaker Enterprise Edition

Updates come from the Oracle Documaker front on two counts:

Oracle Documaker Awarded XCelent Award for Best Functionality, and

Documaker User Group in Wisconsin Holds First Meeting

[Read More]
About

Oracle’s solutions provide the modern, rules-driven flexibility insurers need to support Digital Insurance transformation, simplify their IT environments, and innovate to keep pace with changing demands.

For more information, visit oracle.com/insurance.

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