Why RPA alone will not transform insurance
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Insurance companies are notorious for their paperwork. Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of PDFs and paper forms, insurers are turning to automation to expedite the “behind the scenes” processes.
Indeed, automation technologies, such as RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and BPM (Business Process Management), are a godsend for financial institutions swamped with repetitive, manual tasks, such as data entry and processing. In fact, RPA can cut costs for financial services by up to 75%.
And insurers are voting with their checkbooks too. Today, RPA is the fastest growing technology in the insurance industry. Current trends indicate that the market for RPA is on track to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 60.5% through to 2024.
This is a welcome development indeed as automation can significantly reduce operational costs, improve accuracy, and significantly speed up any document-reliant process. RPA has the potential to truly make any line of business much more efficient, from personal and commercial insurance underwriting and onboarding, to policyholder services, claims processing, and administration. But can it truly transform insurance?
RPA on its own can’t solve customer experience problems that insurers are facing
RPA and BPM help insurers accomplish repetitive tasks more quickly and accurately than ever before. But here is the catch: automation doesn’t solve the problem at the heart of the industry, as the way insurance companies collect the data that feeds into those back-end systems is fundamentally broken.
RPA significantly accelerates processes. But the way insurers collect data that feeds these processes is fundamentally broken.
Digital transformation vs. optimization
Recently, there has been a clear shift toward emphasizing efficiency and productivity improvements as elements of growth for insurers. But the focus on automation masks the fundamental problem insurers face with customer experience: even today in 2019, many insurers still require their customers to fill in paper forms by hand.
Instead of transforming the way enterprises work with their customers, RPA takes the same inefficient practices that depend on manual inputs (either from paper, PDF, or HTML forms) and automates them.
It is crucial to understand that automation doesn’t equal true digital transformation. In a way, RPA is a patch that is necessary to streamline inefficient processes—a hurdle that can, to a large extent, be minimized by digitizing the data collection processes in the first place.
It is time to find the missing piece of the puzzle: a way to digitize the customer-facing data collection processes at scale. To succeed, insurers must strive for end-to-end transformation, not band-aid solutions.
Automation circumvents but doesn’t eliminate the stone age data collection processes that are still prevalent across the industry.
Case study: ROI of an optimized front-end process in auto insurance quoting
Consumers are demanding that their claims and applications are processed as quickly as possible. Any delays or inefficiencies will result in lost business. For example, let’s look at the chart below that shows how Progressive has been able to completely dominate the American car insurance market by optimizing their digital onboarding processes.
Problem: Current data collection methods = bad customer experience
As you can see, while other companies struggle to improve their conversions, Progressive was able to achieve conversion rates for their onboarding process of upwards of 50% on desktop and over 38% on mobile.
The difference that a fully-optimized digital process makes for quote initiation, quote completion and conversion rates is truly astounding.
Problem: Errors result in skyrocketing operational costs
The majority of “not in good order” paperwork that insurers receive originates from the completion and submission of manual forms, no matter the medium, be it paper, PDFs, or hard-coded HTML forms.
Errors and incomplete information can quickly sink the company ROI. Insurers have no choice but to go back to the customer and bring these forms into good order, resulting in delays and a bad customer experience. According to Insurance Thought Leadership, digital processes can cost one-third to one-fourth the price of a traditional, paper-based process, just by virtue of the significantly reduced error rate.
While RPA can speed up the workflows associated with fixing such errors, insurers who are still accepting paper-based applications have no remedy against such mistakes.
This whole issue could easily be avoided by utilizing a streamlined digital process that deploys smart-field validation and pre-population based on the data you already have about the user.
The need for a digital platform
It is clear that insurers must create user-friendly experiences. And must do so quickly.
But digitization projects can be cost-prohibitive and can take several years to implement.
Moreover, the maintenance of coded processes is just as resource-heavy as the maintenance associated with paper processing—the effort is simply transferred from data entry and support to development and IT. We clearly need new technologies that make it easy to handle customer data collection at scale.
Bringing it all together: RPA + smart eForms builder
The time has come for a technology that helps enterprises create and manage their front-end interactions with customers at market speed and at a reasonable cost.
EasySend is a revolutionary smart eForm builder that was built to answer the unique needs of financial enterprises and insurance companies. Our SaaS, no-code eForm platform helps insurers streamline and accelerate data collection across all customer touchpoints:
- Policyholder Services
- Claims Processing
- Policy Renewals
From personal and commercial insurance line underwriting and onboarding, to policyholder services and claims processing, our Digital Experience Builder is changing the way insurers operate, improving their customer service while reducing overheads.
RPA has a well-deserved place in optimizing the back-end operations, but we still must revamp the front-end experience.
Automation technologies, such as RPA and BPM, revolutionized and streamlined the way insurers process back-end operations. Now EasySend is here to revolutionize the way insurers create front-end processes and collect customer data with smart digital eForms.
Let’s change what the insurance industry is known for, from a need for excessive paperwork to one delivering outstanding customer experiences.