The insurance industry is well positioned to pivot and embrace new data practices.

The call for data-first operating models for traditional insurers has never been clearer. To embrace a transformation from data-holding providers to agile environments offering innovative products and services, insurance companies must transform their business models and evolve into data-first enterprises.

The journey to become an agile organization starts with embracing the changes required to become truly data-driven. This means putting data science, analytics and IT at the center of the business and addressing questions such as: How is data used? What insights do analytics bring? What are the Customer and Operational benefits of AI?

Data-first is the result of being data-driven, where data is used to drive organizational change from customer insight. For marketing, it’s about driving strategic decision making and optimizing programs and campaigns based on near and real-time data.

Why adopt a data-first strategy?

For Generali in Asia, our Brand Promise is to become a Lifetime Partner to our Customers and Agents.

This means creating a customer-centric environment and building a culture that relies on understanding the wants and needs of customers and transforming their data into actionable promises that strengthen Customer Retention and increasing Share of Wallet.

We have transformed this insight and data into three Customer Promises; Effortless Experiences, Personalized Value Propositions and Phygital Advice.

At the heart, it relies on customer knowledge. Our journey maps identify tasks that can be automated to free up resources that can be redeployed to areas where the human touch and the human experience is most important. Using advanced analytics enables us to better understand our customers, as well as assess insurance risks more accurately.

“Using advanced analytics enables us to better understand our customers as well as assess insurance risks more accurately”

On a practical level this means keeping abreast of your customers’ shifting needs at different life stages and being positioned to support them. A simple example of data providing insight is when a customer updates their address details. This now triggers one of our agents to reach out for a discussion, to potentially offer home and contents insurance. It is about understanding our customers’ lives and what are the most appropriate products to offer at each stage, through which channels and how to personalize that offering.

The insurance sector challenge

Insurers have historically collected a wealth of customer data but have been slower than other industries to leverage it into additional commercial ideas, in part due to organizational structures and regulatory factors, but also because the sector has lagged in investment and adoption of data analytics. For traditional insurers with legacy systems and business processes running on old CRM, policy, billing and claims systems, a move towards agile processes has been particularly challenging. Upgrading existing systems involves potential disruption to services, additional costs for development, testing and migration, together with the associated cultural and change management issues.

To reap the benefits of a data-first approach, organizations need to empower teams to drive customer insight into decision making and product development. Such a shift is a big challenge for some insurers who continue to work with siloed data, where they have separate departments or business lines managing their own systems and data. Without an overarching, nimble approach to data aggregation and processing, there is an inability to recognize the same customer across products, as well as policy lifecycle stages, which can negatively impact on customer experience. This organization-wide challenge also exists within specific functions. Within marketing there are multiple customer communication channels, including call centers, chatbots and mobile apps which can result in a lack of data sharing derived from these platforms across the marketing team. This leads to frustration for Customers, who feel that they need to repeat requests from previous interactions.

In Asia, several international insurance companies run a federated business model, with each market operating with a degree of independence in terms of priorities, spending and development. While this approach offers benefits, it also makes it difficult to implement an organization-wide model for processing data and in turn deriving advantageous customer insight from data.

Delivering a Lifetime Partner Experience

We recognize that being data-driven is imperative to maintain competitive advantage. This industry is attracting new, disruptive, agile entrants who do not have to spend time and resource shifting processes from legacy architecture. Through the federated model in Asia, Generali is working in each of its eight markets to address legacy challenges by making effective and innovative changes to the way data is processed to deliver our Lifetime Partner experience. To achieve this, the entire organization is responsible for providing the agents with an insightful360-degreecustomer view, allowing them to enrich customer relationships.

Despite the challenges, established insurance companies with century-old records of creating value for their customers, are in a strong position to flourish in this agile age. They continue to understand their customers’ evolving needs and have the expertise to provide insightful risk prevention and mitigation services.

The insurance industry is undergoing tremendous change. Successful insurers are finding the path to become data-first and in turn exceed customer expectations, improve time to market and increase employee engagement.