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BANGLADESH’S INSURANCE SECTOR NEEDS TO BE FULLY DIGITIZED TO CAPTURE THE MARKET

Information technology has revolutionized the way insurance business is being conducted. In the western world information technology has proved to be essential not only for growing the insurance business but also sustaining it. Insurance companies who have redefined their strategy in response to the growing relevance of technology have managed to stay afloat smoothly in the business. Information technology has not only made the insurance world more connected but it has also made business development more accessible.

With a single click on Google, we have lots of information accessible to us. This increased access to information has been radically changing our lives since the last decade. The momentum of IT innovation is dramatically shifting towards digital transformation. The millennial generation is becoming the driving force for change. Millennials, born form 1980 to 2000, grew up with Amazon, Google and social media accessible via mobile devices and computers in their hands. They have an entirely new framework. Smart phones have created an expectation that data should be available anytime and anywhere.

Application development for mobile devices is growing at a blistering pace. E-commerce and E-insurance are rapidly gaining ground. We are keen to use technology to gain more information of our customers and potentially offer them low cost insurance solutions. In the information era, insurance market is expected to witness best international practices, product innovation and penetration which will lead to future growth with the aim of providing prompt service to the policy holders in the most cost efficient manner.

We are now trying to establish virtual offices that can provide full solutions to clients at their doorsteps. Companies have launched digital insurance wallets to empower customers to make digital transactions. Some insurers are looking at digital claim settlements in the future. Digitalisation has made it easier for insurers to indulge in direct selling of insurance policies to customers. Image based documentation allows the transfer and online verification of scanned documents that can reduce the processing time for claims. Thus Digitalisation be used to increase customer satisfaction.

Traditionally, insurance as a career option has been on the last of priority list of college graduates and management students. So this leads to inability of the insurance sector to leverage on the creative potential of the younger generation. Some institutions such as Bangladesh Institute for Professional Development (BIPD) and others are trying to attract more employers of agent and students to pursue courses in insurance. It is necessary to encourage advanced research in insurance. The younger generation being more net savvy we can attract the young generation by effective use of social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and Linked in Insurers need to become more customer centric by making claims management an easier process. This is a welcome move. We need to have a robust claims management infrastructure. The claims management process must have suitable checks and controls to ensure that no fraudulent claims are made.

Digital technologies provide new opportunities for additional premiums, enhanced customer experience and selection of risks in a better fashion. Loss prevention efforts also get a boost. We therefore must explore different ways to access and process data from devices and sensors, streamline real time data from social media and external sources. Communication strategies in the information era have to be innovative to secure competitive advantage. Awareness of value of insurance must be made more explicit to the insuring public at large. Information sharing through efficient communication strategies coupled with development of client based product is crucial for competitiveness.

The IT systems have to be agile to be able to bring products to the market with increasing speed and automated processes. Digital innovations act as catalyst for customer revolution providing greater opportunities for customer engagement, insight and experience to meet customer needs more effectively. Digitalisation ought to be the priority of insurers to reach out to more people more effectively. Information technology must move beyond sales to include after sales customer servicing, accounts, investment management, MIS reporting, claims, etc. This will lead to reduction in cost, reduced human intervention, increased transparency, increased quality of service and increase the levels of customer satisfaction. New technology can be effectively deployed to satisfy customers and bring them under the fold of loyal customers. Risk management tools assume greater importance for businesses and must step in so that we can provide tailor made solutions that meet the customer needs. Use of IT in underwriting and claims processing has still not been institutionalized by us. This is something that calls for attention. This will need to invest in training employees and agents to respond better to customer needs.

The seamless flow of information from one channel to another has given a big boost to the business development efforts of the insurance community. We shall have to maintain appropriate checks, balances and controls to deal with fraudulent claims. Insurance underwriting protocols cannot be diluted as otherwise the percentage of risks turning into claims will increase. We need to tread the fine line of balance between focusing in needs of customers and ensuring that business processes are not compromised to achieve that goal. It is said that an effective communication is key to success, whether in personal or professional life. Maintaining transparent communication with customers and intermediaries is essential. In today’s technological wired world, both good and bad information can spread very fast either to the advantage or to the detriment of the insurance community. Clear internal communications are also an integral aspect of motivation. When employees find that companies are sincere in improving their performance, their motivation levels improve.

Communication is a golden key to success in the insurance industry. The overall management of all forms of insurance communications content and information is largely being viewed and focused as a strategic business issue and game changer. The competitive pressure and the battle for market share has compelled insurance companies to improve communications, and technological capabilities to a greater extent. The importance of insurance integrated communications must be realized at any cost, as it applies to every insurance product and line of insurance business. Future success of insurance companies depend much on how meticulously we are able to implement and manage the integrated insurance communications process. Now is the time to think and realize about how well our organization is positioned in the market place to respond to the dynamic changes taking place and the changes impacting on us.

Insurance business ought to be a customer –centric industry, based on promise and performance. Interaction with clients is at the very heart of the business operation, often determining success or failure of the insurance organisation .There is no doubt that the customer dynamics and behaviours are changing rapidly. Insurance customers are today in the driver’s seat. Their expectations are being shaped outside the domain of the tremendous explosion of information and communications methods and the convergence of these two areas are changing how customers buy, as well as what they buy.

Customers are changing the way they think and act. The influence of our changing world is causing agents, employer of agents to look to insurers for more sophisticated levels of support and cooperation. The ways and means that insurers utilize to gain insight, deliver service, and settle claims are also improving their efficiencies and effectiveness. An efficient way to have an edge over competitor is to remain updated on the latest technology relevant to company’s growth and progress. The technological environment within which we function and operate are constantly changing and growing faster than expected. Therefore new technology plays an important and vital major role in our operations, from the development of the databases used to the creation of effective marketing tools.

Technology innovations, including social networking, telematics, service oriented architectures (SOA) and beyond, play a major role in determining success or failure in future. If we fail to keep up with the latest technologies –and the lasting “next- gen” innovations that arrive on the scene, we will be falling further behind and relinquishing our positions. Future success is likely to rest on today’s technology decisions and strategies of insurers.

 

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