On Wednesday, May 24, InsCipher was honored to be a guest panelist for INSTANDA’s webinar, “Leveraging Technology for Cost Savings.” Our Director of Sales and Marketing, Jason Russon, represented InsCipher during this webinar.
The moderator for this webinar was Angie Sinclair. Sinclair proposed several insightful questions. We enjoyed discussing several important topics, such as misconceptions surrounding digital transformation, short-term and long-term cost savings with technology, and how to keep digital transformation projects on track. This article will review several key points from this webinar. If you would like to watch a recording of the full webinar, click here.
Let’s review some of these questions and the answers Russon shared.
Q: We asked our webinar attendees what initiatives they are currently undertaking to increase operational efficiency. What are your thoughts on the answers our audience members gave?
A: That’s interesting. I think we’re just beginning to see the effects of software automation on insurtech. I know we still have a ways to go. We’re still playing catchup with a lot of other industries, like car manufacturing and finance. So it will be interesting to see where this goes.
Q: What are some of the common misconceptions traditional insurers have about digital transformation and adopting modern technology?
A: One common misconception is that new technology is going to be difficult to learn or implement. But the reality is that technology isn’t all that helpful to the market unless it’s easy to use. Nowadays, new technologies are designed to be easy to figure out. The people who make these tools care about people having a good experience with their products. They want it to be simple for folks to learn. So when companies introduce a new technology, they want it to be easily adopted. And if they want it to be successful, they’re going to provide resources like training and support programs.
Q: From your introduction, it sounds like your company is one of these new technologies. Can you elaborate on what InsCipher does specifically?
A: Sure! The non-admitted market is a difficult one to venture into. Writing surplus lines insurance can be fun to a point, but there’s a lot of regulation around it. What we’ve done is created a software tool that automates a lot of the processes around surplus lines tax filing. Every state gets to regulate its own tax rates, processes, and forms. We take all that information and condense it to a single place, allowing people to very easily process their taxes and keep them on top of things. Surplus lines taxes get really difficult. It’s subjected to intense penalties and fees. So our system makes it easier, it allows for more accuracy, and it allows for a shorter time to file.
Q: One big misconception about digital transformation or a focus on cost savings through technology is that it comes at the expense of that personal touch or even your personnel. What are your thoughts on how driving for efficiency impacts the people side of things?
A: It’s rarely happened that people are replaced by tech, especially in growing organizations. Software increases efficiency, but it still requires human input and expertise. If an organization has felt it’s reached its max potential as far as the market and cost-cutting is its only goal, then maybe this is a fear. But any organization that cares about growth will take talent and repurpose it and grow other areas of the business. For instance, everyone is worried that AI is going to take their jobs. I’ll admit that thought crossed my mind for maybe a few minutes, but AI tech today is only as good as the people directing it–the people giving it direction. Things like AI have the ability to amplify talent, but it isn’t necessarily a replacement for human talent.
Q: What are some of the short-term and long-term saving opportunities for insurance companies that adopt modern technology?
A: From what I’ve seen, it just depends on the size of the organization. Small teams can move fast. They can reap instant benefits from new features. For example, at InsCipher, we create tools to automatically populate tax forms or to E-file to the states. We take thousands of filings, batch them, and send them off. Smaller agencies we work with, because I can just flip a switch and only need to get a couple of people on board, they can see these returns almost immediately. Large companies just tend to move slowly. It takes weeks or months and a lot of people to adopt a new process. So, short-term cost savings may not be on their radar necessarily, but it’s well worth the savings in the long run. It takes patience for these larger organizations, but without fail, it does pay off. It really comes down to strong leadership. The leader has to believe in change, has to sell the change, and have the right people in place to see that change implemented.
Q: A common conversation I have with insurers revolves around cost savings versus growth. Many insurers feel that they have to pick between operational efficiency and revenue growth, or at least can’t work on both at the same time. What’s your perspective?
A: The idea that insurance agencies have to choose between operational efficiency and revenue growth–I just don’t see it. I don’t think these goals are mutually exclusive. At InsCipher, we show how your software frees up teams from manual tasks so that their efforts can be put to higher and better use. It’s industry-specific. It’s company size. But we can easily show–and this is what I do all day in sales and marketing–how our software creates a return on investment stemming from both sides: reduced costs and increased revenue, both at the same time.
Q: If an insurer wants to take on a new project or technology to introduce cost savings, what can help make sure the timeline and cost don’t go off the rails for the project? How can you make sure you see a clear speed to value?
A: A project succeeds when you define the objectives, if you have a good plan, and you have support from the top. The leadership really has to drive this thing. And having people who are accountable. I’ve seen projects fail because nobody knew who was in charge of what. Make sure there are accountable people with clearly defined roles.
Q: With so many emerging technologies, how should insurers research which will lead to lasting revenue and efficiencies vs. which are just a time and resource vacuum?
A: Unless the technology is 100% fresh, there should be resources on how to implement certain technologies or implement change. There are usually really good case studies out. If the company is worth its salt, it should have case studies that you can learn from and see how that technology can apply to your company. A good company should have a good implementation process. So, try to understand what resources are made available to you during the implementation of the software and post-implementation. Then, understand what your goal is with the technology. It’s often hard to measure success when you have these nebulous goals: “I just want to do this more efficiently” or “We just need to do this faster.” Setting hard numbers of “We want 200% efficiency,” “We want to grow revenue by this much,” or “We want to process x amount of claims” leads to success. Being clearly defined about what those goals are will make a big difference.
Q: Are there any emerging technologies that you think all insurers need to incorporate into their strategy?
A: AI is everywhere; it’s the buzzword, and it will be here to stay. It’s got its moment in the spotlight right now, but it will become more commonplace. It will be more integrated into how we do business. It scares a lot of people. They think it’s going to replace their job. It could replace some of your job, but if there was any advice I could give anybody, I would tell people to understand AI and learn how to make it your friend. Don’t run from it because there’s a lot of opportunity there.
We appreciate this opportunity to work with INSTANDA, who made this webinar possible.
InsCipher is an insurtech company providing software and services that are revolutionizing inefficient insurance processes. Save your agency time and money by automating surplus lines compliance, filing, and reporting. Want to learn more? Request a free demo today!