- The P&C sector is notoriously cost-intensive, and tech holds the key to improved cost controls.
- Technology enhances accuracy, efficiency, and security with document-sharing.
- Tech brings chain functions closer together, sparking improved collaboration and increased cases of vertical integration.
- Unified communications systems improve service and support opportunities throughout the chain.
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The structure of the property & casualty (P&C) insurance sector is complex, with customers typically going through wholesale or retail brokers who market products on behalf of one or many carriers. Heavy regulatory requirements and document-intensive workflows translate into a lot of information and records going from customer to broker to underwriter to agent, putting a heavy burden on channel members to communicate effectively.
Fortunately, technological innovation improves the business value chain in P&C by enhancing accuracy and efficiency in data collection and dissemination. Technology can also boost the ability of reps and agents to communicate internally with each other and with frontline clients.
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The following is an overview of ways in which tech impacts the P&C value chain.
The P&C sector has a notoriously high-cost structure relative to other financial sectors. Much of this has to do with antiquated paperwork and communication processes, including those used to meet regulatory standards. High costs are also due to a lack of technological innovation across the industry.
Though building up a tech infrastructure does involve investment, over time, the cost savings more than make up for it. Tech factors that contribute to lower costs include:
- Lower supply requirements: A digital transformation typically leads to a major reduction in paper, ink, and other office supplies, as organizations won’t have to print as many documents and send out as much mail.
- More automated processes: Technology empowers more automated processes, which reduces labor requirements and their attendant costs.
- Increased efficiency: In addition to the efficiency gains from automation, workers can perform many tasks much more efficiently with modern tech. Documentation and communication are among the key areas that benefit from faster productivity.
Advanced technology makes it easier to gather, store, and use data, which allows chain members to more efficiently prepare documents for underwriting and communication. Document transmission through carrier systems, which can vary significantly, is also easier.
Faster document-sharing speeds up each stage of the application and claims process. This speed allows each participant to perform their functions on time, and collectively it aids client satisfaction.
Technology greatly expands opportunities for collaboration among business value chain members. It enables electronic data integration or the sharing of data across networks. Shared data makes it easier for all channel participants to know where clients are in the insurance process. It also improves understanding of the marketplace and the needs and interests of different customer types.
Tech allows participants to communicate efficiently. This collaboration speeds up processing timelines on applications and claims. Faster application processing allows you to get clients insured before they explore other options. Faster claims processing is important to satisfying covered parties, along with members in the value chain that rely on reimbursements of payouts.
Each member of a distribution channel or business value chain relies on markups to profit from their role in the chain. These markup chains add to insurance prices for clients and impact the ability of carriers to optimize their profit.
Through vertical integration, single companies can execute multiple roles in the value chain. The following are benefits of vertical integration:
- Greater control over the business value chain to ensure consistency in business process
- Better value for clients due to cost reductions throughout the chain
- Reduced conflicts common among players in a non-integrated value chain
Each member of the business value chain takes on a service and support role in answering stakeholder questions and in resolving issues. Retail brokers assume this role with front-end clients. However, brokers rely on support from carriers and underwriters.
Unified communication systems have become the gold standard for optimized communication across many business sectors. This type of cross-platform, cloud-based solution allows for better internal and external communication.
Agents can seamlessly shift conversations from one platform to the next, across all popular methods of interaction. This capability allows for more adaptable internal conversations regardless of a team member’s location. It similarly allows for efficient handling of support contacts as one agent can cover contacts on multiple channels.
It is also easy to track interactions and transfer conversations when necessary. Top solutions also have advanced security to help you safely and securely share documents and information.
Clearly, communications technology has dramatically impacted the P&C value chain. It allows carriers and brokers to transmit documents, share information, and communicate efficiently. If your business is struggling to manage its value chain, consider whether you have invested enough in your digital infrastructure. If not, you will have a difficult time contributing to an optimized business value chain and staying competitive as the industry moves forward.
RingCentral’s comprehensive, cloud-based communications solution is a great option to address all your communications needs. The ability to communicate seamlessly across all platforms is critical in the digital marketplace. With RingCentral, your team members can collaborate more effectively internally and communicate with other value chain members efficiently from any location. RingCentral also offers the latest in digital security. See how it works!
Originally published Jun 23, 2022