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March 07 2014 | Mark Breading

We’ve just released a new research study, identifying the top 10 business application projects and the top 10 technology projects for L&A insurers. The study, 2014 Insurance Ecosystem: L&A Insurer Business Applications and Technology Projects, is based on a survey of insurers in North American representing all lines of business and company sizes. The net – L&A insurers are actively investing in IT, especially to acquire new customers and to position for growth via more agile core systems.

Significant activity is underway in the back offices of L&A insurers. Policy, billing, and claims are key project areas, with a relatively high percentage of insurers planning new systems or system replacements. One in five insurers are planning new billing or policy systems, both of which are significant projects with important implications for operational flexibility, efficiencies, and improved customer experiences. Claims is increasing in priority, with 40% replacing or enhancing systems. This is driven by the widespread implications of the unclaimed property legal actions and the age of many existing core systems.

It’s no surprise that insurers are building or upgrading tools and systems to improve customer acquisition, especially solutions for producers. The economic environment is improving, demand is picking up, and the market is competitive. Portals, needs analysis tools, illustrations, and electronic submissions are all slated for enhancements or brand new systems. And mobile capabilities are on almost everyone’s list for 2014. Along with this focus comes the reengineering and automation of the new business/underwriting area, with extensive transformation projects underway at many insurers.

Key technology projects that support multiple business areas include customer relationship management (CRM) enhancements, and initiatives for cloud computing, mobile, workflow, and IT security. CRM is an especially high area of activity, although not for new systems. Very few insurers are implementing new, comprehensive systems for CRM, but 60% are planning major enhancements. The CRM upgrades are consistent with the growing focus on becoming more customer-centric.

SMA is further exploring the focus on customer acquisition with a research project underway, conducted in conjunction with LOMA. Early results from that study confirm the increased activity for technology projects and provide details on the new functional capabilities that insurers are planning to implement through 2016. Watch for that research report to be published in April.

Overall, it is an exciting time for L&A IT. The industry made it through the global financial crisis and has repositioned for the new economic realities. Now there is optimism that there are growth opportunities ahead and a realization that technology projects play a key role in enabling that growth.

For more information about insurers’ IT plans and priorities, read SMA’s new research report, 2014 Insurance Ecosystem: In L&A Insurer Business Applications and Technology Projects. Contact Mark Breading for further information at mbreading@strategymeetsaction.com.



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Strategy Meets Action