By Doreen Kinja, Enterprise Sales Team Leader at Infobip Kenya

Digital transformation within the African insurance industry is gathering momentum as a result of increased emphasis on delivering customer-driven insurance products and services through better communication.

Essentially, the sector’s digital transformation initiatives are centred around the integration of technology into all areas of the insurance business, with the view to fundamentally create more value for the customer. To this end, insurers are increasingly recognising and responding to the need to adopt a customer-centric approach in response to the continuously changing needs of the modern customer.

According to a recent McKinsey customer experience compendium report, 90% of millennials are becoming key customers of the modern enterprise and 72% of people are likely to tell six or more others about a positive experience with a brand. In addition, 71% of customers expect a personalised experience and nine out of 10 customers expect a continuous omnichannel experience.

This clearly demonstrates that Customer Experience (CX) is rapidly becoming the new currency in business today. Already, there are countless examples of how digital transformation has changed the African insurance landscape.

Streamline operations

Most notably, digitalisation can streamline operations, ensuring that brands are present at customers’ preferred channels. Customer interactions can be done via chat apps and claims can be processed automatically through the advent of personalised and automated communication.

Furthermore, digital transformation has enabled brokers to aggregate customer information, allowing them to work faster and more accurately. This is due to an organisation’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM), policy sales and claims policy data all residing on a single platform that delivers useful and powerful insights.

Crucially, digital transformation has the potential to drive cost optimisation and boost revenue for insurance players, which can ultimately impact on market share and market penetration. Cost optimisation is key to successfully reducing insurance operating costs, which is why insurance companies are increasingly trying to market themselves effectively, while also minimising administration costs.

But, to fully understand how digitalisation drives cost optimisation in business operations, we need to consider the need to ensure the availability of all relevant customer information on their preferred channels.

Chatbot technology

The next step is increasing customer satisfaction and responding to queries by integrating chatbot technology into the contact centre. Businesses must also be able to assist customers over their preferred comms channels, such as email, SMS, WhatsApp and social media. In addition, organisations should simplify customer authentication and onboarding by automating claims processing and insurance advisory recommendations over chat apps.

In terms of boosting revenue, companies understand that increasing sales and maintaining stable sales operations in an extremely competitive market is key. To address the challenges of how to increase the number of clients and conversations that result in policy sales, insurance firms need to realise that digital transformation can be harnessed to address several areas of their business.

Firstly, digitalisation can improve risk evaluation with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies, helping insurers to create appropriate quotes for different risk groups. Policy sales can also be improved through meaningful conversations, personalisation, faster quotes, onboarding and processing.

Digital transformation can also help to generate personalised, customised and individualised quotes for better service and overall enhanced CX, while also optimising customer engagements to ensure customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately repeat business, which translates to revenue increase.

Many use cases

In essence, digitalisation has the power to transform all areas of the insurance business and can be key to a variety of use cases. For example, it can enable companies to provide 24/7 assistance to insurance shoppers by handling large volumes of queries and offering automated advisory and personalised recommendations.

In addition, an automated onboarding assistant will minimise the time and effort required for onboarding customers, while a virtual assistant can ease the burden of claims management, helping companies automate voluminous, repetitive and routine queries in the claim process.

Meanwhile, chatbots can assist live agents with key data and critical insights by taking control of the data deluge and helping them make impactful and personalised pitches to potential clients. The digitalisation of underwriting can enable agents to make accurate and data-driven decisions by using AI-powered assistants to gather data from disparate sources and provide intelligent and personalised insights.

Digital transformation has the power to drive Africa’s insurance industry into the future, but there are still a number of key challenges that are specific to this sector that need to be addressed to enhance the customer journey effectively. Companies must effectively deal with the changes ushered in by shifting regulations, ever-evolving customer needs and the fast and multi-faceted lifestyle of today’s customers.

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