Ensuring Secure and Compliant Exchange for Insurance: ITC 2021

Ensuring Secure and Compliant Exchange for Insurance: ITC 2021

Ensuring Secure and Compliant Exchange for Insurance: ITC 2021 736 312 Christian Grunkemeyer

On October 4-6, Team DataMotion’s Director of Sales Success, Christian Grunkemeyer, attended ITC Vegas 2021. This event presented an incredible opportunity for in-depth conversations about what is happening in the insurance vertical, and what we can expect in the future. It was also Christian’s first in-person event since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Christian kindly sat with DataMotion’s Andrea Meyer and Sarah Parks for a brief interview to share his takeaways on the event, some of the challenges faced in the industry, and innovations on the horizon.

Christian, welcome back, and thanks for taking the time to speak with us. First, how was Las Vegas?

Christian Grunkemeyer: Thanks—it is good to be back! As always, Las Vegas is a great place to have a conference. I spent most of my time at the event, of course, and didn’t do much sightseeing, but the event provided some tremendous entertainment for attendees!

We definitely want to hear about the entertainment aspect—it sounds like there is a good story there! But first, let’s talk about the event as a whole. Were there any overarching themes that you took away through conversations, or attending sessions?

CG: Oh, absolutely. This is an event for the insurance space, which has a unique set of challenges—including abiding by compliance regulations and, of course, offering a first-in-class customer experience. As such, this event was incredibly positive, and a lot of the conversation focused directly on the policyholder, and specifically, how companies in the space can leverage technology to make onboarding, insurance-related events, and other aspects of the customer experience easier on both the customers and internal teams.

AI was the focus of a lot of conversations, largely in the context of how companies can use the years of data they have stored. Companies are looking to leverage that data in a way that saves money, creates intelligent exchanges with policy holders, and enables fraud protection and detection.

To sum up, organizations in the space are looking for AI-driven technologies, multiple integration options, and technological methods to automate internal processes and better detect, and prevent, fraud.

View of outdoors ITC Vegas 2021 conference

Q: You mentioned leveraging technology to make the policy holder experience better—from what you heard, what is the state of technology at companies right now?

CG: The long and short of it is, brokers don’t have a lot of technology in-house. In fact, up until last year, in-person meetings with paper and binders was still the norm. The technology they do have tends to be older, which means that companies with modern challenges are really relying on legacy systems. Often, these systems are an odd mix of older and newer systems that are patched together. Rather than scrap the original, older system, the company will Band-aid it with another system that performs another function well. Eventually, that will also be bandaged with still another system that picks up the slack of yet another function. Fast forward 20 years, and these folks have found themselves with five or six systems that are patched together and are ultimately doing the same things.

Q: Tell us more about that moment of reckoning 20 years and five or six systems later. It sounds like some companies are at this mark now—what are they doing to address this?

CG:  The example I was just referring to was referencing a number of CRMs that could be at a given company. This system patchwork tends to be a combination of CRMs that include out-of-the box, big-name systems that are used with a homegrown system that performs a specific function. Rather than replace the system with a newer version that encompasses all of the needed functions, these systems are patched together, creating an inefficient redundancy.

As a result, companies will have multiple systems that function like a CRM—some are customer-driven, some are prospect-driven. Rather than efficiently consolidating these systems or going for a new one altogether, they keep these systems around for very specific use cases, and just combine the systems. On top of that, they will have two customer service systems—one that services customers, and another servicing partners. This results in data overlap, delays in accurately logging data, and overwritten data.

Companies try to rectify this by creating daily data flows that upload all data into one system of record. But that system of record can change, and agents may not know what that day’s system of record is. This means that if an agent took time to upload the data, but did so into the incorrect system, the data flow can delete or overwrite all of that information, and it could be gone the next day.

Q: This sounds like a real challenge. We have to ask, how does this affect the customer experience?

CG: Customers that are trying to get support are met with agents that cannot find their information. This leads to delays in customer assistance, and policy holders very often need to repeat their information, as it was probably lost or overwritten. Obviously, this is not a good experience for the customer, and is quite inefficient internally.

Q: This conference was customer service-heavy. What are some of the challenges that companies are facing in this area? Did anyone mention a specific opportunity to provide a smoother customer experience?

CG: The sentiment is that there are a lot of opportunities to bring potentially disparate areas into one experience for the policy holders, while obviously keeping things secure and within compliance. For instance, from a policy holder’s perspective, they don’t want to be forced into multiple portals—and their insurance provider doesn’t want them to jump through those hoops, either. Providers want customers to be able to easily communicate all of their insurance information, securely and within compliance protocols, without the multiple portals.

The larger goal here is really simplifying the process while keeping things secure and compliant. For instance, a policy holder might already have life insurance with a company. But they might decide to add car or renter’s insurance to their policy, and this should be as smooth an experience as possible.  In a nutshell, they should be able to easily communicate, and share supporting documentation, with agents in different departments without jumping through a bunch of hoops.

While the policy holder-facing process and experience are tremendously important, there is also a business-to-business aspect to this. Insurance companies regularly communicate with re-insurers, as well as other business entities, and these communications must be conducted securely and within stringent regulatory protocols. This aspect should also have a smooth, and effortless process.

Christian Grunkemeyer at InsureTech Connect 2021 conference in Vegas

As far as solution needs, what resonated with you in relation to DataMotion’s services?

CG: Most brokers are looking to move to a cloud-based solution, with a SaaS model. The expectation is that monthly fees have become the norm, rather than annual subscription fees.

One quote from my pre-show blog seemed very applicable to this, and what we discussed on the show floor: “…APIs help facilitate rapid and frictionless integration(s) across an enterprise’s solutions ecosystem (call center, CRM, ticketing system, etc.). The scalability of a cloud solution maximizes useful life, and minimizes year-over-year cost of ownership. The integration goals have been to enable full omnichannel capabilities of their backbone solution(s).”

Being a secure, cloud-based communications platform with flexible integration options, DataMotion seems to check all of the boxes when it comes to helping brokers modernize and digitally communicate in ways that are natural for their policy holders.

As a matter of fact, we have a customer experience-focused case study that speaks to this point. The case study focuses on an organization that integrated a secure message center behind their client portal. The system was then able to seamlessly facilitate secure and compliant communications with their internal email platform (in this case, MS 365).

Christian, it’s time to dust off your crystal ball–what innovations were discussed for the future of the industry?

CG:  Suffice it to say, there are ample opportunities for technological innovation in the insurance space for companies to help brokers and advisers better, and more securely, communicate with their policy holders.

As for as something specific, there were a lot of interesting ideas in the space, including disrupting the traditional model for auto insurance. What could potentially be coming down the road is a new pay-as-you-go model. Let’s say someone lives in a city and doesn’t drive so much. That policy holder, rather than paying for a month of coverage, could pay for abbreviated coverage that corresponds with the use of their vehicle. They could pay for, say, coverage for a week at a different rate than they would monthly coverage. This is something that was discussed as a general idea and a potential option for customers.

This sounds like an incredibly informative event.

CG: It definitely was, and I am looking forward to going again next year!

One more question—you mentioned some entertainment. What was the stand-out moment for you?

CG: There was a Ludacris concert on the beach at the Mandalay Bay resort, and it was…ludicrous!

That is a ludicrous pun.

CG: I know and make no apologies. I managed to snap a panoramic picture from where I was standing. My shoes were too nice to go in the water, but I bet it was a really exciting experience for everyone in the pool underneath the stage.

So note to self: next conference, wear boat shoes.

Panoramic of Ludacris concert at InsureTech Connect 2021

We’d like to thank Christian for taking the time to speak with us and sharing his takeaways. If you attended the event and missed connecting with Christian, or would like to hear more about how DataMotion’s solutions can help your organization with secure and compliant exchanges, please contact our team of experts.