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The Forces Driving Innovation in Insurance  

Appian Contributor
May 3, 2018

The words insurance and innovation have not always been used together, but that has begun to change. Many Financial Services and Insurance (FS&I) companies have begun adopting and integrating new technologies into their corporate ecosystems as they attempt to attract and retain customers in a highly competitive market. And it's not just customers that they are trying to attract and retain - they are trying to do the same with employees, as well.

But, it is not just technology for the sake of technology. The forces driving innovation are practical, used to speed the response to questions, make their employees more productive, and in many cases, both.

Ultimately, they are using technology in ways that impact the moments of truth - key interactions with customers and prospects that can literally make or break the relationship.

On the heels of an amazing Appian World 2018, this is even more top of mind. After all, a gathering of more than 1000 people focused on technology and transformation is bound to inspire more thoughts on innovation!

Here are some of the innovative ideas being brought to the table to accelerate the pace of change - and the impact that they are having on the customer and employee experience.

Accurate Answers, Faster

Cognitive computing can be incredibly powerful, augmenting human interaction and decreasing turnaround time on processes.

FS&I companies generally use cognitive computing, like Watson, to power Natural Language Processing (NLP) apps - either chat bots, or voice recognition apps like Siri or Alexa.

Most chat bots are used to answer frequently asked questions. They work by translating written or spoken text into intents, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to recognize the similarity between questions like "Please change the deductible of my automobile policy to XYZ" and "Make XYZ the new deductible for my automobile policy".

Chat bots are online 24/7, giving companies an "always on" capability, something the consumer of today expects from their insurers. Having them embedded in a website cuts down on call center traffic, leaving staff there available for more complex questions and giving them time to upsell.

Automate Tasks to Streamline Processes

Insurers are leveraging Robotic Process Automation (RPA) - like BluePrism - to automate repetitive tasks generally associated with getting data from a back-end system or putting data into a back-end system.

RPA is a digital workforce of software robots that can be invoked at various points within the overall business process to eliminate repetitive work performed by people. The result is much greater automation and greater visibility into the overall business process. For customers this equals speed - faster answers to questions and shorter waits in call queues. For staff, this gives them the time to spend on higher-value tasks.

Tying it Together

We know there is ROI in digitizing operations. Forward-thinking companies understand that these innovative ideas require a platform approach to be successful. Interestingly enough, this approach works for both InsurTechs and established companies

The combination of a low-code platform, RPA and cognitive technologies enables next stage efficiency gains in terms of speed, accuracy, transparency and immediate availability of information.

The common thread in all of these ideas is that they're being used by FS&I companies in practical ways that improve their bottom line - and - help their customers and employees. This video illustrates how these technologies are being used by Aviva for their intelligent contact center, today.

Putting the customer first is not a new idea - but it persists because it works. And happy, empowered employees are a good thing for both employers and customers.

The Appian insurance team will be at two insurance conferences this month, connecting with others in the industry and being a part of the change that is shaping insurance. First, we'll be at dig-in in Austin on May 14-16. We'll be in Chicago the week after at Connected Claims USA, where I will be participating in a panel discussion about building a foundation and ecosystem for claims success. We'd love to meet you at either - or both - events. Feel free to reach out to me at

Eileen Potter