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Microsoft Weighs In Part III – Becoming a Digital Insurer

Posted on April 25, 2016 by Guy Weismantel

Digital Insurer Blog

If you haven’t already, take a moment to review part I and part II of this three part series covering Microsoft’s Digital Insurer resources.

Now – let’s dig in.

This is the final article in a three part series so it’s only fitting that our focus this week hones in on the core idea of Microsoft’s resources – which also happens to be the core idea of this blog – Becoming a Digital Insurer.

But what does it mean to become a Digital Insurer?  

Well, at its core, the idea of becoming a Digital Insurer is centered on taking a digital-first approach and applying that mindset to the way you think about your business today and in the future. No, this does not mean hiring your nieces and nephews as interns for the summer to run your social media accounts. Cultivating a digital first mindset involves adopting a new set of beliefs about the marketplace and your customers that will constantly alter the way you operate your business – because change is constant.

Microsoft’s whitepaper does a great job of articulating this concept and providing direction about how to start adopting this new mindset and thinking in digital first manner. Let’s continue by taking a look at some startling data points below.

The digital insurer

The Pivot Point is Now

Statically speaking, 54% of insurers reading this article need assistance adopting a digital-first mindset. What does that mean? It means you’re not alone! And most importantly, you’re not too late. The threat to your business is real, but there is still time to right the ship.

According to Microsoft’s research cited in their whitepaper, only 46% of insurance companies are prepared to adapt to the “new normal.”

What is the new normal? How about technologically savvy customers that expect “real-time, consistent, and increasingly contextual information from their service providers.” The numbers don’t lie, take a look for yourself:

  1.       51% would prefer to make a claim online
  2.       67% would be interested in receiving offers on their mobile devices
  3.       52% would prefer to apply for insurance online

And to quote Microsoft directly, “It’s clear that the digital customer is not a trend, or a narrow demographic. The digital customer is your insurance customer.”

I don’t know how much clearer the message could be delivered. But just in case, allow me:

Making Claims online IS the new normal. Communicating with customers through mobile devices IS the new normal. Applying for insurance online IS the new Normal. Therefore, thinking about your business with a digital first mindset HAS to be your new normal.

Those numbers are only going to continue to rise as Millennials and Gen Z (those born after Millennials) come of age and flood the market. I’m willing to stake my career on it. Are you?

Becoming a Digital Insurer

Besides reading this blog each week (which I know you do!), Microsoft offers a host of great information about what it means to be a digital insurer. Use this checklist, taken straight from their whitepaper, as a pressure test to see where you’re at and where you might need to improve:

There are many other resources throughout their whitepaper that will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the external opportunities and threats facing your business. A heavy focus leveraging data to drive opportunities and deliver customer value. So if you’re looking for more insight about how you can use data to inform your business decisions, this whitepaper is going to be worth your while (specifically page 18!).

“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” – Peter Sondergaard, Gartner Research

You can download Microsoft's full whitepaper here.

Conclusion: Failing to Adapt is Not an Option

John F Kennedy said that “change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” He might not have been in insurance, but he knew a thing or two about running a business, and a country.

I’m not asking you to wake up tomorrow and change everything you’re doing. But I would implore you to think deeply and consider this question: Are you a digital insurer? Do you have a digital-first mindset?

If not, that’s okay. But you owe it to yourself, your staff, and most importantly your customers, to take advantage of the educational materials provided in this post to consider what a digital-first future might look like for your business. 

As a final reminder, Microsoft's free on-demand webinar, "The digital revolution: act or react?" featuring Karlyn Carnahan, Research Director at Celent will only be live until the end of the month! Please make sure you get a chance to watch it while it’s still available.

Best of luck!

Guy Weismantel

Mr. Weismantel is the Vice President of Marketing at Vertafore. With 20 years of marketing and financial leadership in companies such as Microsoft, Business Objects, Baxter HealthCare, Caremark International, and Expedia, Guy’s career has focused on bringing differentiated products to market and providing the “compelling reason to purchase” for customers and prospects alike.

Guy has a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.




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