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For CIOs in insurance, boosting operational efficiency and generating cost savings through digitized processes have always been top priorities. 77% of CIOs rank digital transformation as their top priority this past year.

But their role has evolved dramatically in recent years. Today, reducing costs is not enough — CIOs today need to focus on the bigger prize: unearthing new sources of revenue and driving the productivity that leads to growth.

That kind of productivity needs to align to the new remote and hybrid workplace. The needs of insurance employees have radically changed — and they’re not going back to the old normal. A recent CIO survey by Gartner shows that 64% of employees are now able to work from home, and 40% already are.

But how confident are insurance CIOs in their ability to meet these objectives? Less than 40% of CIOs in insurance strongly agree that their CIO organization is well-positioned to support the company’s growth after the pandemic.

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What are the biggest barriers standing in the way of enabling the efficiency and agility their organization needs to propel that growth?

With all of the time, human capital, and investments made into digital solutions, CIOs are still caught in a complex web of legacy operations and data that are bound by documents. These outdated processes effectively block CIOs from making data agile and accessible across lines of business (LoBs) and to employees that need it, whether they are on-site or working from home.

What’s so debilitating about building technology and data around documents? They essentially make end-to-end digitization impossible, creating a domino effect of issues that are keeping insurers from delivering the efficiency needed to compete and thrive in today’s digital and mobile-first era.

Here are 4 ways documents holding the agility, efficiency, and productivity that’s so critical to insurers hostage:

1) Manual Data Management Risks Data Integrity & Compliance

Pulling data from documents into backend systems creates confusion for IT staff who must spend significant time reviewing duplicate data sets and struggle to decipher which fields are correct.

Ensuring data integrity and accuracy For back office to IT operations. Manual maintenance and tinkering also leads to inevitable errors managing customer data and the compliance issues that come with them.

2) PDFs Are Painful to Customers & Hurt Digital Adoption Rates

Digital and mobile adoption is core to insurers’ success in collecting the data and attributes they need from signed and completed forms, evidence and supporting documents to process new policies or claims.

Current digitization efforts in insurance rely heavily on PDF documents in order to collect signed and completed forms to process new policy agreements and claims requests. A decade ago the PDF document was a first digital step forward for businesses — but building data operations around documents has proven to be merely a half measure when it comes to moving processes from manual and paper-heavy to fully digital.

For insurance customers, PDF forms are cumbersome and crowded with information that many if not most don’t fully understand – especially when taking into account that 85% of Americans today own a smartphone, while 57% spend 5 hours or more on their cell phone daily.

The poor experience of PDF forms is deterring too many customers from completing these steps digitally — suppressing digital and mobile adoption rates. A recent survey of insurance professionals reveals that just 16% of new policies are completed via website, and only 11% via mobile.

3) Paper-driven Overhead Sends Employee Productivity Crashing

Standalone eSignature tools have failed to address the clunky digital and mobile experiences that customers face when trying to complete and sign insurance documents. The result? Many customers revert back to the old way of completing forms, printing and filling them out manually, then having to scan or fax documents back to their insurer.

That’s a lot of friction for customers, but the problems generated by paper insurance documents hardly stop there. These outdated processes don’t just undermine the purpose of digital insurance processes, they also heap paperwork and admin overhead to insurance contact center agents and employees. Mired in mundane processes, employee frustration shoots up while productivity drops, stalling sales and claims for insurance companies.

In an era where more employees than ever are working remotely, paper insurance documents complicate sharing data compliantly so that employees across the organization can efficiently process claims or complete new policy sales.

4) Manual Processes Inflate Costs

Managing data using these legacy processes also ramps up costs in more ways than one. For IT, manual processes spent pulling and storing data from paper and PDF documents rack up both time resource needs and storage costs.

And for customer-facing employees, increased administrative tasks and paperwork lower productivity and fuel burnout, demanding more staffing resources from insurers.

On the business end, document-dependent legacy processes:

  • Prolong Time to Sale
  • Delay Time to Settle a Claim
  • Inflate Average Cost per Claim
  • Lower Claim Settlement Ratio
  • Damage NPS

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5) Streamlining Insurance Processes With End-to-End Digitization of Documents

Digitization of docs enables CIOs to replace their reliance on rigid PDF documents and the paper they produce with an entirely digitized hub that allows data to be accurately synced through the company’s backend systems.

This allows CIOs to:

1) Ensure data integrity

One accurate data source synced across backend systems eliminates duplicate data and human errors that cause friction for both employees and customers. It also provides one accurate and consistent audit trail that helps avoid the risks of data tampering, such as forging signatures on a customer’s existing policy.

2)Unleash productivity by making data agile and accessible

Once accurate and consistent data can be captured and stored digitally, it can be made accessible immediately by anyone in the organization. An IDG Study found that 81% of CIOs have increased focus on IT innovation to accommodate remote work.

Digitizing insurance processes boosts productivity in any environment be it office, remote or hybrid. Employees can easily pull current data without needing to find paperwork, removing process bottlenecks and manual breakpoints.

3) Streamline processes and reduce costs

Digitization of documents streamlines sales and claims processing for insurers, lowering Cost per Claim, while saving overhead significantly by reducing time resources load on staff and cutting needless storage expenses.

4) Accelerate Time to ROI

  • By digitally unifying insurance processes CIOs can build the stage for agile and productive back and front-end processes and make their organization better-equipped to support its customers via digital self-service and mobile channels.
  • Increased mobile and digital adoption speeds up completion times for new policy sales and claims, accelerating Time to ROI on their digital investments and helping the business move faster and achieve its goals.

To maximize the potential of digital throughout their organization, CIOs can help break their organization free from their costly dependence on legacy processes. Replacing document-bound processes with a digitally complete platform will help both back-office and customer-facing departments move faster towards growth and achieving insurers’ business goals.

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