Carrier transformation from incumbent to digital-first

By Meredith Barnes- Cook, Head of Global Insurance at Ushur 

Today when we speak about digital transformation within insurance, it can sound like it is something relatively new. In actuality, technology has been playing a pivotal role in the insurance industry for decades. I can still remember the shift from processing claims entirely on paper to using mainframe applications. Seemingly overnight we redesigned our processes, organizations, and evolved how we interacted with our customers.

There is a school of thought that incumbent carriers, even those that are industry leaders, are at a disadvantage to be digital innovation leaders, because people with more time spent within the industry are less inclined to see the opportunities for change. Yet what I have learned from my own insurance journey, is that success and longevity in the industry requires change to be foundational in the company culture.

A day in the life at an insurance company includes providing service, while designing new products to address emerging demands, pivoting to rapidly to respond to another unanticipated, if not catastrophic event, while rallying to adopt a regulatory change that arrived with a retroactive effective date. And that’s before the announcement later in the day of a new VIP account just landed that will include forming dedicated teams and a massive data conversion.

When it comes to driving digital transformation, incumbent insurance companies have a compelling advantage over their newer digital competitors – the highly tenured expertise and customer insight of its employees, who thrive in a fast-paced environment where change is a constant.

What do the successful digital transformers have in common? They embrace agility as a state of mind across their entire organization. While they may call it their “agile transformation”, it is introduced, implemented and sustained to be “how we work.” The shift to agile is co-owned by all leaders, not solely resting on the shoulders of the CIO. Changes are made across the spectrum of people, process, and technology to leverage all of those assets to their best potential, albeit differently than they did before. Business and IT teams converge easily as they support each other during a shared change journey, where concepts like “MVP” and “Backlogs” and “Sprints” do not only apply to systems work.

Tower Insurance is proof of what’s possible when a highly successful and seasoned (in business for over 150 years) P&C insurance carrier takes an agile approach while going all-in to become a digital challenger. They were well on their way when they selected Ushur to create a closer, differentiating omnichannel digital connection with their customers. I won’t spoil the exciting story that is told in Ushur’s case study of Tower Insurance. But I will offer a few teasers of what Tower accomplished early in their Ushur journey – their first solution was up and running in less than a month. And they didn’t even need an hour to have a storm warning ready to send to thousands of customers.

Tower Insurance’s agile, collaborative and innovative approach combined with Ushur’s modern, no-code, artificial intelligence enables them to continuously solve for every insurance company’s reality – that their next #1 customer experience priority could be 5 minutes away from someone’s inbox.