Shahin Amir-Ebrahimi group product owner, software firm RDT says choosing the right technology is vital for any business looking to take the next step into a digital future
Many MGAs are performing strongly right now, but the question of how to make best use of the latest digital tools is probably as tough as it’s ever been. An MGA’s strength is in its risk management, its honed ability to understand their market, manage their customers, and keep processes lean. However, there could be a lot of missed value if a digital-first approach is not at the heart of the thinking.
There is a bewildering amount of choice when it comes to technology that promises to step change your results. So how do you navigate all the options? We recommend focusing on what problem you are trying to solve, and whether you want marginal results or dramatic ones.
Put another way, are you hoping to reimagine the way you work and challenge insurance orthodoxies, or are you simply looking to digitise the way you already do business? The answer is usually a bit of both – so you need to find a partner that has both experience and the ability to think differently.
The right technology can reduce costs and increase profits. The revenue differences can come from smart use of data and artificial intelligence (AI) in pricing, and the speed of response to new distribution opportunities, through to the right choice of third-party integrations. The reduction in costs can come from intelligent automation, with the power to make adjustments put directly into the hands of the MGA without the need to write code.
So what should an MGA look for in a technology partner, when seeking to embrace a digital-first approach?
Some established insurance software providers have created all-encompassing end-to-end solutions, while many newer suppliers offer specialist solutions to improve the process within a small area of the value chain. This can make it hard to know what will be the most flexible way to structure your technology so it can adapt to the changing needs of your business.
The ideal partner should provide the optimum digital advantage for each step, combined into an end-to-end solution that:
• Is focused on providing expert modular insurance functions that can be used together to provide total solutions, including working with existing systems and niche software.
• Has flexible workflows to automate processes that business users can change via simple, intuitive interfaces.
• Makes pragmatic use of AI, whether to augment workflow automation or to offer modern interfaces such as natural language digital assistants to ease the administrative burden.
• Is cloud-based, either public, private or a combination, to provide all the advantages of cloud computing. Low cost, scalable on-demand processing that’s simple to optimise for both live and test environments. A resilient and secure infrastructure that enables rapid change.
• Is scalable with the ability to allow for multiple lines of business to support the growth of even the most aggressive MGA.
• Has a product design ethos that allows business units to make their own changes without relying on software development teams.
The future-proof option would most likely be an open platform that’s easy to integrate with that has broader solutions on tap from a well-developed network of technology partners. For example, if you wanted to introduce video claims notification, your current provider should already be integrated with several partners who provide it. This approach can also reduce the procurement burden on the MGA.
It’s also key to choose a technology partner with a solid track record of successful partnerships with MGAs and insurers, one who understands how the technology and insurance landscape may evolve, and who has time and again created positive, profitable solutions to business problems.