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Insuring the Insurers

Damien Wong, senior director and general manager, ASEAN, Red Hat | May 12, 2014
Automate processes and decisions for consistent and accurate outcomes, argues Damien Wong, senior director and general manager, ASEAN, Red Hat

Over the next decade, the insurance business in Asia is projected to grow at about 8% a year. And by 2020, Asia is likely to account for almost 40% of the global market.

Delivering his keynote speech at the 12th Singapore International Reinsurance Conference last year, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon shared that the growth prospects for the global insurance industry, particularly in Asia, have never been better. The Asian risk landscape is transforming rapidly, generating robust demand for insurance and reinsurance. He added that Singapore is already recognized as Asia's leading reinsurance hub with 16 of the world's top 25 reinsurers having their regional hubs here.

Insurance is a growing industry in Asia. As such, it is important to ensure that insurers remain relevant and competitive in the market. 

Insurance is among the most process-laden industries today, requiring consistent, correct and repeatable decisions across thousands of customers and scenarios. One undetected fraudulent transaction, a wrong decision regarding a customer claim, or a missed regulatory deadline can have a damaging impact on the success of the organization. A likely outcome is that the organization will lose customers to competitors. The stakes are high and these decisions cannot be left to chance.

The financial services sector, especially insurance in Asia, is increasingly adopting technologies to better adapt to changing market conditions and keep up with customer needs. As technology becomes a top priority for insurance companies' bottom-line, insurers acknowledge the need to become more tech savvy to maintain their competitive edge. Insurers are employing analytical and mobile technologies more than ever in 2014.

Among these technologies is business process management (BPM). BPM enables the insurer to model and automate business processes to better cater to customer needs and wants. BPM software encompasses codes and rules that help an organization make business decisions in a more streamlined and efficient manner.

CEOs of insurance organizations are often faced with the pressure of existing and potential customers being lured away by competitors who are offering better products and quicker services. It is difficult to cope with shifting market conditions and there is a need to grow the business consistently to stay relevant. This is difficult when back office systems are unable to handle changing policies and complex systems. Sudden changes or workload management becomes a challenge. Mistakes can arise that require manual intervention that could halt existing processes, resulting in wasted time and resources.

Business process management can alleviate the burden and risks associated with manual processing, decision-making and application development through automation, helping insurance organizations increase agent productivity, optimize business operations, and improve the overall response to customer needs.

Because insurers have little visibility into the rules applied to make a business decision in existing systems, it is difficult to know how, where and when decisions are being made. Without this transparency, these inconsistencies affect the level of customer service provided by the company.


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