Insurance’s Urgency of Customer Centricity — What’s At Risk?

by   May 2, 2017

Embracing digital channels to engage with customers today is no longer just a nice-to-have for insurers. The rise of social media has created many opportunities for companies to engage better, faster and more frequently with their customers and gain richer insights, but it hasn’t – in many instances – enabled them to fully embrace customer centricity.

In a recent article discussing the value drivers for the insurance industry in the digital age, McKinsey Company states, “Those companies that move swiftly and decisively are likely to flourish. Those that do not will find it increasingly challenging to generate attractive returns.”

Consider this information from the CMO Council:

"… while marketers have developed data strategies within marketing, extending that plan across the organization to gain a more complete view of the customer has proved to be difficult," said Liz Miller, VP of marketing at the CMO Council.

And from MarketingProfs:

52 percent of the marketers and 45 percent of IT professionals, however, said that data that is in silos across an organisation makes it difficult to really achieve customer-centricity. 

We couldn’t agree more.

So how do insurers end up on the right side of the balance sheet with the least disruption to operations?

What CMOs Need to Say to Chief Architects

The transformation needs to happen at the data strategy level, which means CMOs need to cozy up to Chief Architects – and speak the language of data. Getting that elusive Customer 360 – or whatever the jargon du jour is, requires a new approach to handling data.

The primary reason data is so difficult to bring together is that it comes out of different systems in different shapes and sizes. We are all familiar with Excel. And we all know what happens when we try and cut and paste one Excel worksheet on another when the columns and rows don’t align – you get a big fat error. A customer, called an “entity,” is likely scattered across many systems in your organization. The tech team needs to bring all rows and columns from these systems and create a new master model.

This is a painstaking and grueling task that can take weeks, months and sometimes years! There is a technology that eliminates this pain – but it is so new that many chief architects don’t know about it; a multi-model database. What CMOs need to know is that insurance companies who are adopting multi-model are innovating and getting that customer centricity in a fraction of the time.

So what happens if your organization isn’t one of them?

The Risk of Not Using Multi-Model

Insurance is a business of managing risk and it’s important to foresee the what-if scenarios if this path is, for some reason, discarded. Below are three risks the insurer must avoid in order to stay ahead of the digital curve.

  1. Missing the opportunity to innovate. Keeping data across isolated applications prevents your organization from acquiring a 360-degree view of your customers’ behaviors, the type of products they are interested in and the ways they want to engage with you. And the ability to create new products to meet those needs cannot happen without that full view.
  2. Difficulty getting the ‘household’ view. Knowing your customer requires you to understand their household and ALL of the connections they have with your business. Traditional relational tools are unable to provide such views, are detrimental to your decision support, and costly too.
  3. Failing to comply with data privacy. Privacy can no longer be an afterthought. Customers and regulators now require customer data be protected. Insecure data may lead to customer churn and regulatory fines.

Digital Transformation Pays Off

In 2016, a top 20 US property and casualty insurance company was struggling to compile and maintain a single, well-defined version of its customer and agent data. Getting a golden record of the company’s customer and agent data involved using massive ETL processes to match and merge customer and agent data from multiple sources. The company’s IT team developed a proof-of-concept application using the MarkLogic Enterprise NoSQL platform in a matter of 3 weeks and 300 hours – while the RDBMS team after 1700 hours failed to even load the data.

The ability to accelerate their IT delivery cycles through the MarkLogic platform was key to their decision to put MarkLogic at the center of their long long-term integrated business strategy and be a critical partner for their operational retooling planned over the next decade.

For more information

Golden Record Helps Insurers Retain Clients You can gain competitive advantages when you use a single view of all your customer data. Find out how in this five-minute read.

Data Lakes, Data Hubs, Federation: Which One Is Best? There are three different approaches to integrating all this data. Find out which one is best for your needs.

Does MarkLogic Really Do What We Say It Does? We get it. You are skeptical. Find out how one very large insurance company brought all their data together – in months, not years.

Sponsored by MarkLogic.

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