Cloud-based policy administration
The imminent arrival of two Microsoft data centres in South Africa has put renewed focus on the importance of the cloud. But, how can insurers benefit from this environment and embrace the opportunities it unlocks? Claudette Steynberg, product manager at SilverBridge, takes a closer look.
"Digital transformation has become a key talking point in boardrooms the world over. Locally, companies are increasingly aware of the need to reinvigorate existing systems and processes by going the digital route. Even though concerns around security, availability and compliance are still there, the Microsoft announcement helps to set decision-makers' minds at ease when it comes to the potential of the cloud in Africa."
In insurance, with its reliance on data analysis, the ability to unlock increased business value through the cloud is evident. It is especially the case when it comes to policy administration and enhancing existing offerings while developing ones that reflect the digital expectations of customers.
"Cloud-based policy administration solutions, such as the SilverBridge Lucid offering, unlock additional insights that insurers did not have access to previously. In part, this can be attributed to the additional resources a cloud environment can provide. An insurer is no longer limited to the capacity and processing power of its on-premises servers. Instead, it can leverage all the resources available to the cloud service provider to further strengthen data analysis and policy administration."
Time to change
Furthermore, unlike on-premises solutions, a cloud-based policy administration offering can be implemented much faster as the level of integration required is quite different. While not quite as extreme as 'plug-and-play', a cloud offering does provide more flexibility when it comes to customisation and linking to the existing offerings of an insurer.
"Additionally, the cloud provides access to real-time, on-demand reports. Employees are therefore no longer limited to going in to the office to get updated figures. Instead, they can access them wherever they are using any Internet-connected device. This delivers not only improved customer service, but also significantly enhances processes that can be quite cumbersome with the limitations of on-premises solutions."
Another benefit of using the cloud for policy administration is that maintenance and support costs are also greatly reduced. The online environment is seamlessly updated when new technologies become available and it is completely secure. Given the need to comply with evolving regulatory requirements, this is especially important for insurers who can rest assured that the appropriate boxes will be ticked in the background.
"In a cloud environment, the insurer can focus more on delivering strategic value and less on administrative-intensive tasks. User-friendly interfaces lessen the cost of conducting extensive change management procedures while having a single view of the client can empower agents with information and insights they would not ordinarily have had."
Embracing the cloud requires a willingness and openness to do so. However, the advantages over on-premises solutions are evident. And in an environment where customers expect to be serviced virtually instantaneously, this will be fundamental to the success of any insurer.