By: Eric Plasse, Principal
COVID-19 has forced the insurance industry’s hand when it comes to digital transformation. In March, as states began to issue stay-at-home orders, and as business models shifted quite literally overnight, insurers swiftly transitioned to a work from home model.
Now, as the nation slowly starts to reopen during COVID-19, many insurance leaders are seeking assistance in planning return-to-work strategies. Our clients are asking: What does it look like? How can I best support my staff and ensure client retention and growth? What type of technology should I invest in for long-term sustainability in a work from home or hybrid approach? Through much of our consulting work with insurers, there emerged a pattern:
Work is not a place you go, but a thing you do.
With COVID-19 and the need to protect employees and customers, the term work quickly changed meaning to something you do, not a place you go. Because of this, many insurers have reexamined their current models to not only account for health and employee safety, but for the needs of the future.
Insurers are mapping out a long-term approach and many are creating a hybrid environment—one that allows for the flexibility of remote working, as well as a safe space for collaboration, interaction, and necessary in-person contact. For some, this means creating more, small satellite locations and for others, it may mean eliminating larger locations and only focusing on core sites or campuses. Whatever the approach in terms of real estate, it is clear that working remotely will now be a big part of every business’s strategy.
Technologically enabled insurers can more easily adapt to uncertainty.
It’s no surprise that insurance companies that were able to quickly transition employees from an office to their homes were those that had previously invested in some form of digital transformation. Modernization of technology is imperative to enabling and empowering a workforce, whether it’s for something as simple as working from a different location to bringing products to market faster or increasing differentiation through customer experience.
Looking ahead, insurers should prioritize digital transformation activities that enable the business to be differentiated, agile, and resilient. In times of uncertainty, insurers with sound technology solutions will be able to lean on an agile infrastructure that allows them to adapt to uncertainty. From migrating internally managed applications and infrastructure to the cloud, maturing BPO capabilities, and accelerating overall digitization, NEOS has helped many clients transform their operations and be better positioned to respond to the disruption.
Failure to plan is preparing to fail.
COVID-19 took many by surprise. And now, as insurers look at short-term plans during the next 12 months, many are looking even further. What does the world look like in 2025 and how can I anticipate those changes?
While few predicted this far-reaching pandemic, there will always a need for business continuity planning to account for business climate uncertainty. Organizations must consider technology that not only keeps essential operations running during times of disruption but also provide the tools and capabilities that enable employees to engage and serve customers effectively. Business must leverage new and effective ways to harness the power of tools such as video conferencing, customer self-service options, and digitized products and services so customers can obtain what they need, when they need it most.
Technology will always be the foundation of how your insurance business can react. And in times of crisis, every second counts.