Given that data and accurate data exchange is crucial in the insurance industry, stakeholders in this sector including insurers, brokers, and general transcription companies providing insurance transcription are evaluating innovative ways in which information can be communicated, managed, used and shared. This becomes especially important with the immense potential being offered by evolving technology, and the changing expectations of insurance buyers regarding the way in which insurance processes are done.
Looking at the changes technology is bringing to the insurance sector, we find that major transformations are being made within the core systems in many insurance companies. At present, what is needed is software that is flexible and ensures lean analytics. This calls for the use of agile, modular installations using innovative project management ideas. The most important requirement is improving data exchange between various entities in the insurance sector including brokers and insurers. Now, insurance brokers do not have many choices. They have to send the applications and requests to insurers by mean of memo or email for manual transcription into policy systems. Alternatively, they could take on the responsibility of creating the brokerage records and then re-enter the same data into the insurers’ systems through various portals and bridges. The duplicate entry carries the risk of keying errors as well as increased security risks.
The issue is more pronounced with regard to existing policies that may need to incorporate the endorsements and changes introduced. There is some integrated information of transfer for new insurance policies though only minimal automation exists for policy changes. It is estimated that a set of 1,000 personal lines policies would require around 500 endorsements in the course of a year. However, with additional and return premiums balancing one another, these will generate only minimal additional revenue. Compared to data entry for insurance policies, improved software integration would be beneficial for insurers, brokers and consumers.
Greater capabilities and connectivity will ensure uninterrupted and accurate exchange of data in the entire insurance life cycle for processes such as quoting, billing, underwriting, claims and other data exchanges. Advanced technology, improved systems, and enhanced insurer-broker relationship will benefit the entire insurance industry by improving efficiency and consumer satisfaction.
Some of the evident changes in the insurance business sector are:
- Connectivity issues are being successfully resolved with new, versatile technology
- XML has been adopted as a common, flexible language; and available speed and capacity through the internet has steadily improved.
- Broker management systems (BMS) are being developed that will eventually be able to employ a uniform process to transmit new business, inquiry and policy change requests directly to multiple insurers and immediately deliver the results to customers.
- There is increased use of the cloud environment now for developing and testing, which is a more flexible method.
- Increased implementation and use of technology would help avoid delays from repetitive data entry, password authentication and batch processes.
- Transactions can be completed with much greater accuracy and speed, and the objective is to enable the majority of transactions to pass through without having to be referred to underwriters.
In this regard, the essential principles for electronic data exchange articulated by the IBAC (Insurance Brokers Association of Canada) are significant. These principles have earned broad acceptance as a frame of reference for integration designs. In the latter half of the year 2015, many insurers implementing one software platform formed a user group, and then a sub-committee to focus specifically on transforming communication to brokers’ systems. A project was started to design and create a software module that could receive standard transaction messages transmitted from brokers’ systems, transmit the data to insurers’ policy installations from that vendor, and send back standard responses to document brokers’ records. The technical design has been completed and early this year, they launched the construction of the first version of the software in a test environment, which is scheduled through to mid-2017. Alongside, a revised standards update has also been introduced, ensuring that the standard on which effective connectivity depends to cover all necessary data is rapidly and regularly refreshed.
Brokers can prepare to optimize the connectivity by reviewing the data processes and QA measures in their brokerage in advance. This is vital because for the new data exchange system to function optimally, the information has to be accurate, clean and complete in the first place.
Here is a look at the benefits of a good data management system for the insurance sector.
- There will be more opportunity to optimize insurance transactions, and more ease of doing business for the customer.
- Interoperability will be improved.
- Brokers can eliminate unnecessary work and invest more resources to more meaningful, responsive and customer focused activities.
- Brokers can provide immediate answers to consumers who expect immediate turnaround.
- Customers receive better information more quickly because the data will be more accurate and current.
This connectivity revolution is still in its initial stages and a lot of work remains to be done before the new model can be offered to all players in the industry sector.
When considering the importance of connectivity in efficient insurance data management, we also need to think of its importance for the insurance transcription sector. High speed connectivity is a major requirement if a transcription service provider is to ensure fast data transfer, and round-the clock transcription.
Transcription will continue to be necessary in the insurance industry because of the huge amount of work associated with the documentation processes that ranges from all claims and compensations being made. Insurance related documents are numerous – interviews, statements, testimonies, telephone conversations, arbitration proceedings. Recordings related to these will have to be transcribed regularly, which calls for the support of general transcription companies. Take for instance, a case of theft of property. The victim’s initial statement reporting the occurrence of the incident may be recorded and collected as audio files that are later transcribed into text for official use. This is to make it easier for the insurance company assessor to start making any necessary investigations. The insurance assessor may conduct oral interviews with the victim and eye-witnesses, and these are also recorded and later transcribed. In addition, the assessor may create a summary report on the findings in the form of an audio file which would also need to be transcribed.
For the transcription of any insurance related recording, excellent connectivity is required for the best outcome. General transcription providers focus on implementing the latest advanced technology that will help break down barriers to effective communications, and are constantly on the lookout for advanced systems that will enable them to provide the best support services to their insurance clients.