IVANS, Inc. the largest insurance data exchange in the country, announced that the top five technologies carriers are investing in or planning to implement over the next 12 months are: underwriting solutions; policy administration systems; consumer portals; predictive analytics/business intelligence; and mobility/virtualization. According to IVANS 2011 Carrier Automation Trends study, 49 percent of carriers that responded are investing in underwriting solutions to boost efficiencies and grow their business. Speed to market has become critical, and carriers looking to differentiate themselves are investing in underwriting applications that incorporate real-time processes and create greater visibility in the front end of their value chain.
A heightened focus on expense reduction and growth strategies is causing carriers to look for ways to increase flexibility, improve functionality and streamline reporting processes across their lines of business. Not surprisingly, 42 percent of carriers surveyed are investing in policy administration systems to provide new avenues for capturing marketshare. With improved workflows and automated underwriting results, carriers are able to increase their ease of doing business and write more business with agents.
IVANS, Inc. president and CEO, Clare DeNicola said, "We are seeing carriers focus on infrastructure, product innovation, analytics and automating workflows to maintain growth and create market differentiation in an increasingly challenging economic and regulatory environment. The challenge is creating a clear strategy on value creation that aligns technology with business, and optimizes the benefits with a carrier’s business partners. Those who are successful will be able to capitalize on new market opportunities and foster long term growth."
The IVANS study also revealed that 25 percent of carriers already have a consumer portal while 22 percent are currently implementing one and 18 percent have plans to put one in place over the next 12 months. With limited ways to grow in the property-casualty insurance industry, consumer portals provide real-time quoting capabilities and lead-generating functionality that open up new distribution channels that can be seamlessly integrated into a carrier's website.
Almost 37 percent of carriers are currently implementing or have plans to integrate predictive modeling and business intelligence into their organizations over the next 12 months. With external influences (e.g., natural disasters, regulations) playing a larger role in the industry, these technologies enable carriers to make more consistent and accurate business decisions in less time.
Rounding out the top five technologies are mobile devices and desktop virtualization. Twenty one percent of carriers are putting into operation these technologies and 13 percent are planning to do so over the next year. Carriers are using mobility to improve productivity in such areas as sales, support and claims. And, desktop virtualization lowers IT costs while providing carriers better agent support and a strategic agility that can help with regional compliance requirements.
IVANS also asked carriers about social networking, and LinkedIn and Facebook were chosen as the most popular social networking websites. Fifty percent are using LinkedIn and almost 49 percent are relying on Facebook as a daily business tool for communication, even though a return on investment is difficult to measure for both. Interestingly, 52 percent of agents surveyed by IVANS in another study said they do not engage in social media and, of those who do, only 14 percent use it to enhance customer service, citing lack of resources and having to compete with carriers for customer attention as barriers.
DeNicola said, "These findings indicate that for carriers and agents to realize the full potential of social networking, they need to develop joint social media strategies that cultivate customer relationships and improve agent-carrier communication. Additionally, the strategies need to communicate thought leadership while provide guidance on privacy and security issues. Doing so creates a consistent message that will further strengthen the brand, and lead to greater business growth for both."
The survey was conducted electronically July 12-16, 2011, and the results represent responses from 120 property-casualty insurance carriers from across the United States. For an executive summary of IVANS 2011 Automation Trends Survey, contact Cecile Locurto at Cecile.Locurto@ivans.com or (203) 905-7330. Attendees of NAMIC's 116th Annual Convention in Indianapolis, IN who visit IVANS Booth #226 can also request a copy of the executive summary. For more information about IVANS solutions for the insurance industry, visit ivans.com/property-casualty.
IVANS Inc. provides the property and casualty insurance and healthcare industries with fully managed network, electronic data interchange (EDI) and agency-company interface solutions to help solve complex business issues. Headquartered in Stamford, Conn. and a CMS approved vendor, IVANS serves over 4,400 insurance and healthcare organizations, more than 30,000 independent agents and 500,000 healthcare providers. IVANS, which was formed by 21 insurance companies in 1983, also has offices in Tampa, Fla. and Cincinnati, Ohio. For information, visit www.ivans.com.