Insurance sector eyes easy-to-use technology to digitally transform business

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In the insurance sector, data is gathered both manually and digitally which has to be consolidated into software.  Tasks such as underwriting, renewing premiums or adhering to compliance regulations are often labour-intensive and repetitive; all which could potentially benefit from the use of automation.

Bespoke legacy platforms have long been the bedrock for insurance applications but today businesses are no longer limited in their choice of software with two alternatives fast emerging with the potential to revolutionise the industry: namely no code and low-code approaches.

No-code and low-code: tools that let non-coders code

Tools and platforms that allow you to create applications and to use data to solve problems without the need for writing computer code have become increasingly popular.  This group of easier-to-use platforms: no-code and low-code solutions include tools for building websites, web applications and designing just about any kind of digital solutions that a company might need.  No-code and low-code solutions are even becoming available for creating AI-powered applications, dramatically lowering the barriers to entry for anyone wanting to leverage AI and ML.

Using purely drag-and-drop user interfaces the no-code approach can help businesses to build simple, repetitive applications based on common use patterns.  Ideal for non-technical business users who have little or in some cases no programming skills no-code is primarily used to create tactical applications to handle simple business functions.

An enhancement to this idea has been the low-code platform which add some “light” coding functions to the graphical user interface.  This added level of control enables companies to focus on creating the 10% that makes their application different or specific to their business while leaving the standard (more mundane programming tasks) pieces to drag-and-drop features.  Low-code is suited for rapid implementation and development but adds the power to tailor an application to bespoke requirements.

The adoption of low-code development platforms is exploding.  Forrester 2022 data showed that 62% of developers had used low-code, while 45% of developers indicated their organisations were adopting low-code, and another 26% indicated they planned to do so in the next 12 months.

Solutions tailor made for breaking free from legacy systems

For insurance companies the speed of implementation is often the narrow margin between success and failure, which is why the interest in these easy-to-use platforms has sky rocketed.  Insurers needing to migrate away from legacy systems can wean themselves off outdated platforms in a controlled and measured manner without risking the breakdown of an existing system using no-code and low-code methods to develop their own apps.  Low code platforms make it easier for legacy systems to integrate with modern applications, allowing insurance companies to leverage their current infrastructure while modernising their processes; helping streamline operations, improve data accessibility and enhance overall system efficiency.

It seems insurance companies are already sold on the idea.  There is genuine enthusiasm about its potential.  A Gartner Financial Services Technology Survey 2022 study showed that 56% of insurance companies had already invested and deployed or were actively experimenting with low-code/no-code solutions while another 79% planned to increase their spending over the next two years.  There is an abundance of applications that can be quickly built with no-code and low-code: automation rules, quotes, documents, email and letter templates to name a few.  Workflows and processes can be pre-built to automate automatic renewals, so a company could configure their systems to collate all the third-party underwriting rules then generate and send out the documents; streamlining the entire process.

People, responsible for pricing and distribution decisions know their customers best so it makes sense to empower them to create their owns apps.  Insurance companies can rapidly deploy customer-centric applications such self-service portals, mobile apps and chatbots.  These all improve the customer experience with better access to real-time information, engagement, claims interactions and many other personalised services.

Application development can be accelerated with pre-built components, templates, and visual interfaces that enable rapid application development.  This speed-to-market advantage means new applications can be developed and deployed, operational efficiency is improved and customer experience is enhanced.

In general, low-code approaches are best suited for creating independent mobile, web apps and portals that integrate with other systems and data sources.  On the whole they can be used for almost anything and would only ever struggle in mission-critical systems that need to interface with various backends and external data sources.  No-code environments on the other hand are a good fit for product prototyping (app prototypes, e-commerce solutions, blogs), landing pages, single-page sites and customer-facing apps with simple functionality.

Adding complexity invariably adds to more time being spent fixing bugs and security flaws.  Low-code or no-code platforms benefit from running more smoothly having been tested to more rigorous standards.  And cost wise, low-code or no-code development comes in at a much lower price-point as businesses will ordinarily only pay for accessing specific services.

The insurance industry is at its best when it is reacting to change.  Bringing new products to market, utilising new distribution channels, digitalising the portfolio, integrating legacy systems or addressing compliance issues, both no-code and low-code approaches are placing a usable technology solution into the hands of people working on the frontline and are playing a significant part in digital transformation journey of the industry.