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Digital transformation well underway in the insurance industry
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Lesley MillerThe days where insurance policies were printed documents, signed manually and sent out via the post office are fast becoming history. Worldwide, the insurance industry is embracing digital innovation to develop new products, improve the responsiveness of customer service, facilitate flexibility and carry out a range of business functions such as marketing, quotations, accounting, claims handling and data analysis. This digital transformation is well underway in Jamaica as well.

An increasing number of routine insurance transactions can now be handled via multifunctional company websites, without the need for an in person visit to company, agent or broker. Clients can complete proposal forms, get quotations, make queries via online chat capabilities, register and track claims, review their portfolio of business and pay premiums online either via computer or smart phone access. Communication is increasingly done via electronic mail and customers can even print their own documents, such as digital Certificates of Insurance.

Online systems interface with other databases, such as motor vehicle registration, prior ownership, accident, insurance and driving history. Electronic processing and access to these databases reduces costs and premiums for insurers and drives better pricing. Many companies offer direct discounts for use of digital functionalities. Data analysis can identify fraudulent claims, uncover emerging trends in consumer behaviour and needs and thus guide new product development.

Using online services inevitably ushers in the need for data protection and security. Jamaican insurers use a range encryption tools to deliver strong security for policyholders, most often involving password-protected individual log-ins and a payment gateway for credit card transactions.

Other types of technological innovations are ahead. Installation of devices in motor vehicles that track driver behaviour and reward careful driving with premium reductions have already been rolled out in other jurisdictions. The same type of technology can record the sequence of events in an accident, with 360 degree, real time views recorded, helping investigators to assess liability. Dashcams are already being used to support or refute driver accounts of losses. Photographs of motor vehicles may soon be captured with video footage at inspection centres and instantly uploaded into shared databases or straight to individual policies with specific insurance companies.

For property insurance, drones are already being used to map risks according to prevailing hazards or accumulation of risk in certain areas. Drones can carry out site inspections, Drone footage can also be used to settle claims much more quickly after natural disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes or hurricanes.

These technologies are just the tip of the iceberg for the insurance industry. Digital Transformation of Insurance the is not just about technology but most importantly providing customers with faster service, better pricing, and innovative and secure products.

Read other articles from the Insurance Association of Jamaica Year Book (Eleventh Edition) here.