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Microsoft in Business Blogs

woman looking at her laptop.In the lead-up to 2020, insurers were showing great staying power as they rode out an unsettled economy. But with the onset of COVID-19, that turbulence has only gotten more intense.

Claims are becoming more frequent and more severe as catastrophic events happen at an increasing rate. Regulatory requirements are changing, and it’s become more difficult to stay compliant given their complexity. New competitors are emerging from nontraditional industries such as online retailers and insurance aggregators. Fraud and cybercrime are also on the rise, which can impact financial coverage and underwriting.

Consumer expectations are constantly shifting too. When people purchase policies and make claims, they’re looking for an easier, more accessible experience. They want consistent, informed service as they move between mobile, desktop, and call center channels. They’re more willing to exchange personal data for lower premiums. It’s also easier for them to switch providers if their expectations aren’t met.

Microsoft has pinpointed four areas where we can best help insurers respond to these changing circumstances. By adopting Microsoft technologies that enable solutions and deliver a secure and compliant platform, insurers can do more for their organizations and their policyholders.

Empower employees and agents through teamwork

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, insurers faced challenges communicating and collaborating with agents in the field, as well as between business units across an enterprise. Additional challenges exist when different native languages come into play between international business units or affiliates. There are also mobility and accessibility considerations to keep in mind so employees can stay informed and interactive while traveling or working remotely, and to support a diverse workforce by effectively accommodating a wide range of disabilities.

Now, these business challenges are compounded by a healthcare and economic crisis. Most insurers have undergone a sudden transition to virtual work models while trying to maintain required levels of security and compliance.

Microsoft delivers secure collaboration, communications, and business process technologies with native accessibility and real-time translation. With these solutions, insurers can unleash innovation to:

  • Maintain the customer/agent experience.
  • Acquire new customers.
  • Reduce claims costs.
  • Streamline underwriting cycles.
  • Improve operational effectiveness.
  • Differentiate among the competition.

AXA recently migrated to Microsoft 365 across 60 countries, empowering their employees to work together in highly secure digital environments while eliminating inefficient email- and paper-based support processes.

Improve risk modeling with cloud speed and scale

Today, many insurers are running their actuarial and catastrophic risk modeling on-premises. However, modeling has gotten more complex and takes longer to run, and the amount of data has skyrocketed. The number of scenarios, permutations, and iterations to model has also increased because of the pandemic. Insurers are looking to cloud and hybrid models to provide both compute capabilities and infinite scale.

Microsoft intelligent cloud solutions enable organizations to scale their risk management and become more agile by delivering model results faster, more efficiently, and more cost effectively.

MetLife shifted a significant amount of the high-performance computing and data processing that this workload requires to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. MetLife has benefited from the flexibility and scalability of Azure capabilities to achieve faster, more in-depth actuarial calculations and save significant infrastructure costs, resulting in more value for the company, its customers, and other stakeholders around the world.

Modernize core insurance systems

Many existing carrier systems such as billing, claims, payments, and policy administration were built on legacy technologies. This infrastructure leads to several critical issues that are weighing down organizations and hindering opportunities for growth. The current COVID-19 crisis is also accelerating the need to modernize core systems to reduce costs and increase agility when rolling out new products and services.

Moving to the Azure cloud platform helps lower operational costs and manage risk, policy pricing, underwriting, claims processing, and fraud. Insurers can modernize their systems to support new business models and enhance integration with partners’ systems to bring new products and services to market. In some cases, we look to modernize existing systems by enhancing capabilities with cloud resources, and, in some cases, customers and partners are rewriting their applications to natively take advantage of cloud services.

GEICO has adopted an aggressive hybrid-cloud course, which started with streamlining and automating procedures around infrastructure and application deployment, lifecycle management, application monitoring, and high-availability testing.  By moving to the cloud, GEICO has been able to achieve a significant digital transformation while helping the company grow at a record pace and improving customer experience.

Deliver differentiated policyholder experiences

Digitization across industries has increased policyholder expectations in how they interact with their insurer. These expectations have led to new challenges that insurers must overcome to facilitate frictionless experiences while also continuing to reduce cost, improve efficiencies, and drive loyalty.

Some of these challenges are:

  • Knowing your policyholder—breaking down silos to have a 360-degree view of your policyholders.
  • Personalizing each interaction—predicting and delivering what policyholders want before they ask for it and providing real-time, AI-based insights to agents and customer service representatives.
  • Boosting policyholder satisfaction and maximizing growth—leveraging policyholder insights to provide exceptional client value.

The global pandemic has further complicated customer service because many call centers are now operating 100% virtually, and call volumes have increased.

With Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365, insurers can deliver differentiated policyholder experiences that accelerate growth and loyalty through deeper customer insights and relationships.

Zurich Insurance Group wanted to improve its existing customer intelligence (CI) platform and implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 for more than 2,500 users spanning 30 countries. As a result, they have seen marked improvements in the service experience for both customers and brokers. They are also identifying and facilitating cross-selling opportunities across borders far more effectively.

Microsoft has been able to meet the pressing needs of organizations in the insurance industry by delivering value in these four key areas—employee collaboration, risk modeling, modern core systems, and differentiated experiences.

To learn more about how Microsoft solutions can help insurers thrive in challenging times, watch the webinar Building the Intelligent Insurer Through Digital Transformation.