Customers, technology top insurers’ priority list

Customers, technology top insurers’ priority list

Delivering better customer outcomes and technological know-how are driving insurers’ ongoing efforts to pull their businesses into the 21st century.

Nearly a quarter of the 50 insurance leaders interviewed by financial services technology provider TAS list “customer experience” as their top priority for the year ahead, according to a new report.

Artificial intelligence and Big Data shared second spot, with product differentiation on 12%.

“It is very encouraging to see Australia’s insurance industry progress the way it has over the past 18 months, with many insurers embracing disruptive technology and innovation,” CEO Shane Baker said.

“Insurers are transforming into 21st century digital organisations. While it has not been easy or straightforward for insurers, in many ways the first steps were the hardest. Australian incumbents have received a wake-up call and are paying attention.”

General insurance accounted for 36% of the 50 insurance executives TAS interviewed between October and February for the report.

The Hayne royal commission did not feature among the questions to executives, but TAS believes the industry is aware it needs to work on improving customer satisfaction.

“While we have not heard the industry directly refer to the royal commission, data both from the report and direct engagement we have with insurers indicates that feedback has been taken onboard,” Mr Baker told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“And the customer is now the focus and priority. Insurers are making positive strides towards transforming into 21st century digital enterprises with the customer at the centre.”

While insurers say they are embracing digital change, the report casts doubt on the reality of the situation, saying lacklustre investment in technology is a worry.

Only 18% of executives say their business is investing in technology to meet industry challenges.

“Unfortunately, this remains a challenge,” TAS says. “Insurers still appear to be faced with limited technology investment.

“Disruptive technology is here to stay. So is digitalisation. To remain competitive, traditional insurers must prioritise tech investment, either through partnership with an insurtech or by investing in developing their own.”