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A Practical Guide to Intelligent Automation for Insurers

Jacob Sloan, Global Industry Leader - Insurance
August 1, 2018

Digital first operations are a priority for insurance executives. However, determining the right path to transforming business processes through digitization ñ and trying to justify the cost and estimate the ROI ñ often stops executives in their tracks.

In particular, intelligent automation is a pretty abstract topic for many insurers. There is still a fair amount of confusion on how intelligent automation can be used in organizations, and how effective it is in driving digital transformation initiatives.

What is Intelligent Automation?

Intelligence is what allows human beings to analyze a situation or read and comprehend words, and then take the appropriate action based on that information ñ and change the course of action based on new information.

Intelligent automation - which is a combination of business process management, artificial intelligence, and robotic process automation - does the same thing. In simple terms, it enables insurers to turn large amounts of data into processable information; even recommending actions to be taken. It can also track and automate processes, and because it is "intelligent," it can make decisions and learn as it goes.

What Intelligent Automation Can Do for Insurers

Intelligent automation delivers intelligent results, faster.

Any large-scale activity or repetitive task ñ especially ones that either pull data from or feed data to multiple systems ñ is an intelligent automation candidate. So many insurance processes fall into this category, including new business applications, endorsement processing, claims intake and accounting activities.

Intelligent automation can give insurers a competitive advantage, speeding and ensuring greater accuracy in processes, while enabling them to assign staff to higher value work.

But, intelligent automation alone isn't enough. Insurers need a comprehensive digital strategy.

Intelligent Automation is Not a Silver Bullet

Intelligent automation is best looked at as a strategic tool and part of an overall transformation plan. True process transformation optimizes how work gets done and is aligned to a larger digital strategy. In implementing intelligent automation, an organization must carefully set expectations around the role it plays in successful digital transformation.

Appian combines iBPM, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and integrations with the speed and power of low-code development to elevate customer experience, optimize processes and crush business goals.

Capgemini reinforced this in their whitepaper "Growth in the Machine", defining intelligent automation as the right combination of RPA, AI, and business process optimization applied cohesively to achieve strategic business objectives. From their perspective, using intelligent automation in this way is how insurers can reduce costs and drive growth.

A Strategy for Success

In my role here at Appian I meet with COOs, CIOs and IT leaders on a regular basis. And being a former CIO, I find the challenges they face very relatable and complex. A common thread in our conversations is a clear understanding of the need to incorporate intelligent automation into their technology ecosystems, and yet feeling unsure of how to get started. Additionally, they are challenged to continuously reduce the cost of operations while also addressing increasing customer expectations, the proliferation of data being made available by IoT devices driving more personalized product and service scenarios, and new competition from InsurTechs.

Even if the territory is unfamiliar to insurers, they need to find a way to forge a bold response to digital. Successful insurers have realized significant business benefits from a low-code platform strategy that includes intelligent automation ñ things like speed to market, increased revenue, and cost savings.

I recently wrote an Executive Perspective ñ How Intelligent Automation Will Drive Transformation in Insurance. You can download it here.

I'm always interested in connecting with insurance and technology professionals. You can reach me at

Jacob Sloan

Industry Leader, Insurance