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Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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IBM Study Finds Midsize Insurers Focused on Customer Experience

While IT is currently dealing with regulatory and security issues at carriers with 100 to 1,000 employees, one can expect their priorities to move to customer experience technologies throughout the year.

IBM released a study today, Inside the Midmarket: A 2011 Perspective. The company surveyed companies with 100 to 1,000 employees across several industries "to capture current and upcoming business and IT priorities as well as investment direction."

For insurance, IBM found these four top business priorities emerged: —Cost reduction/improved efficiencies —Improved customer service —Increased employee productivity —New ways to reach customers

And, these four top IT focus areas: —Regulatory compliance —Security management —IT infrastructure improvements —Business analytics/intelligence

Interesting to see that other than cost reduction and efficiency (a perpetual goal for all businesses, of course) customer experience areas ruled the day at insurance carriers. Though IT is rightly focused on regulatory and security matters, carriers will be looking to their IT departments this year to implement new solutions for customer acquisition and retention.

Some of these are probably covered in the "infrastructure improvements" and analytics/intelligence on which IT is already focused. When I talked to carriers about new policy administration systems they're implementing, systems that could help them more efficiently reach customers — and help their agents serve customers as well — were the winners.

“We really were looking to put in place with a consolidated system that would help us move forward with a couple of other initiatives that deal with upload and download of data to our agency partners, and some automated underwriting,” Capitol Insurance VP Alan Ogilvie told me in the article, which you can find in our latest digital issue. “They all come back to the same objective, which is for us to provide our insured and our agent partners with customer service.”

Further to that point, I'm taking a look for our next issue at how carriers are using social media to reach customers, and what analytics they're able to glean from that emerging channel. If your company is doing something interesting in that area, please reach out and tell me about it.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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