Impact Award Insights: Digital Case Studies Show Insurers Meeting Customers Anytime, Anywhere

Insurers are investing in digital technologies to meet customer expectations.

Two weeks ago, Datos Insights announced the winners of the 2023 Insurance Technology Impact Awards, recognizing 12 insurers across four categories, including digital, data, core, and IT practices.

While spotlighting insurer IT efforts is worthy in itself, the Impact Awards catalog more than 65 insurer technology projects, providing a deep, industry-wide look into how insurers are using technology and what their priorities are.

Digital projects are typically faster to implement and quicker to demonstrate value than core or data projects are, so they’re a perfect place to start this blog series diving into how insurers today are innovating. Digital case studies are especially useful for seeing how insurers are responding to policyholder and agent expectations around ease of use, customer experience, and convenience.

From that perspective, a clear theme emerges from this year’s digital case studies: Insurers are investing in digital technologies to create capabilities that meet customers where they are, in ways that go beyond web presence and mobile apps alone.

Customer Expectations Are Shaping Digital Projects

To provide a little background: Digital capabilities often overlap with popular new technologies, but there’s a proud year-in-year-out tradition of insurers winning digital Impact Awards “simply” by creating some form of online sales. In 2022, for example, Pie Insurance won for an agent portal for small commercial lines. In 2021, Columbia Insurance Group won for its cloud-based agent portal. In 2020, Merchants won for online quoting integrated via API to a legacy back end.

These are excellent projects, and these insurers did an exemplary job creating online capabilities that many companies struggle with. They also prove that digital projects don’t have to be flashy to create impact—going from “we can’t sell online” or “we can, but…” to a functional portal or website can generate millions of dollars of revenue, and many insurers are still building out these features.

This year’s digital case studies show that insurers are starting to push to the next level, with an awareness of the growing need to meet consumers where they are, when they want, and to be ready to sell anytime, anywhere. The winners include insurers embedding their point of sale in loan closing platforms to offer just-in-time coverage, creating new online quote paths to allow customers to start on a website and tag in agent help when needed, and creating device-agnostic e-apps that allow agents to choose their preferred channels.

Improved Digital Experiences Are Differentiators

These themes are echoed in the featured case studies as well: digital quotes, digital document scanning apps, apps for customer engagement and wellness, digital concierge services for brokers, remote risk inspections, unified submissions processes integrated with core policy systems, IoT-enabled leak sensors, accelerated information for agents… Over and over, insurers are recognizing the need to meet customers on multiple channels, in a way that’s convenient and intuitive, and they’re appreciating that they need to create those experiences to stay competitive.

We’ve come a long way from expecting agents to conform to idiosyncratic new business processes or asking customers to log into one portal to access policy details and another to pay bills. Digital insurance in the 2020s needs to move beyond hanging out a shingle and having a great website or agent portal. Those are table stakes. Insurers are recognizing that the bar for great experience is higher and that those great experiences are differentiating. It’s an exciting time, and I’m already looking forward to the 2024 Impact Awards season to see more of the transformation happening across the industry.

To check out all 24 digital initiative case studies, read Insurance Technology Impact Awards Case Study Compendium 2023: Digital Initiatives. Interested to see what’s happening in the world of data, core, and IT practices? Find information about all of this year’s Insurance Impact Awards winners here.