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Top Insurance Trends of 2020 (and InsurTech Projections for 2021)

Although it might feel as though time has been standing still for several months, 2020 is finally coming to an end. It’s been a year of unprecedented disruption for many industries, and insurance companies often found themselves struggling to adapt to change. Firms that had the foresight to invest in digital transformation backed by InsurTech solutions, however, proved more capable of meeting the moment and are now poised to thrive in 2021 and beyond.

As the new year approaches, it’s helpful to take a look back at some of the key trends that defined 2020 and created opportunities for innovative InsurTech applications. Understanding the pressures facing the insurance industry will also identify InsurTech projections to watch in the future.

5 Insurance Trends and InsurTech Projections

1. Remote Collaboration

No discussion of 2020 insurance industry trends would be complete without exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected organizations. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 48 percent of insurance executives agreed that the pandemic revealed how unprepared their business was for such a disruptive crisis. From the sudden transition to a remote workforce to a shift in risk adjustment factors across the market, insurers have had to scramble to adapt their operations and continue delivering quality services to clients.

With so many employees going remote and customers unable to meet with representatives in-person, organizations that made early investments in digital collaboration tools and automation software were better equipped to meet the challenges of 2020. The industry is expected to make tremendous investments in digital transformation in the upcoming year, whether it’s in powerful document editing and management software, file conversion tools, or secure communication channels that better facilitate true collaboration.

2. Customer Demographic Shifts

Prior to 2020, insurance customers tended to be older, with millennials purchasing life insurance policies at lower rates and often delaying home ownership until later in life. This trend seems to have reversed itself in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, with life insurance application activity growing twice as fast for people under 45 than those aged 45-49. Since many of these younger buyers are first-time applicants, it’s important for insurance agents and firms to make the process as streamlined and easy to navigate as possible.

According to a nationwide industry survey, just over 75 percent of independent insurance agents are age 50 or older and nearly 68 percent have more than 20 years of experience. Having such a long-tenured workforce poses challenges when it comes to implementing new processes and reaching out to potential customers with different needs and preferences than those of earlier decades. In order to remain competitive, however, firms must invest in the right InsurTech solutions to gather data that will give them a better picture of what insurance products and services younger customers will find attractive.

3. Robotic Process Automation

The shift to a remote workplace greatly disrupted traditional workflows. Without centralized offices, key insurance tasks like claims processing and document verification are much more difficult to perform manually. Organizations that had already invested in robotic process automation (RPA) to handle repetitive tasks were in a much better position to thrive in a remote landscape. 

Insurance companies must be able to process a variety of forms during an application or a claim. Having automated InsurTech tools in place to quickly extract data from a variety of sources and carry information over from one form to another not only saves time, but also greatly reduces the risk of human error. For a remote workforce, automation software helps to consolidate complex workflows to eliminate version confusion and enhance collaboration.

4. Artificial Intelligence

Risk assessment and data analysis are crucial to the underwriting process. In a volatile economic environment, insurance firms are under more pressure than ever before to set the right premiums. Although the data is now readily available to make more accurate assessments, sorting through that information manually is difficult and time consuming. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated, the scope of risk can change dramatically in a very short period of time. By deploying artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze risk factors and review potential fraud claims quickly and accurately, insurers can create customized policies and provide more responsive service to their customers.

Implementing AI-driven algorithms as part of the underwriting and fraud analysis process will only be one part of the challenge facing firms in 2021. These powerful tools must have sufficient data in order to make informed predictions. By improving the data collection process with form processing tools, file conversion, and programmatic searches, insurers can provide their analytics platforms the best possible information for analysis.

5. Customer Experience

One of the few positive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was that it forced organizations across every industry to find new ways of connecting with their customers. The insurance industry has traditionally lagged behind other sectors, tending to lean upon a combination of tradition and legacy infrastructure to engage with customers. But the events of 2020 have underscored the need for a true digital transformation that fundamentally reorients the way firms market, sell, and deliver insurance products. The need has become so evident, in fact, that a recent PWC survey found that 70 percent of insurance CEOs are prioritizing customer experience and user interfaces as their top investment opportunity.

In the coming year, firms will likely continue to invest in technology that makes it easier for customers to research and manage their policies. Whether it’s applications that allow them to submit claims information in a variety of file formats or forms and contracts that automatically fill in commonly used form fields, the core focus will be on making the customer experience as frictionless as possible with a variety of InsurTech benefits.

The Role of InsurTech

Many insurance companies will be looking to upgrade their technology stack and client-facing applications in response to these trends. That creates a tremendous opportunity for InsurTech developers who are creating the next generation of software tools to streamline core processes common to the insurance industry.

Delivering those digital products on a short timeline with limited resources, however, can be quite a challenge for even the most innovative InsurTech startup. That’s why many of them turn to third-party solutions to provide proven functionality that lies outside the scope of their development expertise. 

Features like forms processing, document conversion, and image viewing can be easily integrated into an application using an SDK or API, saving the team weeks or even months of work. This helps InsurTech companies get their products to market faster to meet the digital transformation needs of their customers and keep them a step ahead of their competitors.

InsurTech SDKs and APIs

Accusoft’s family of processing and automation SDKs and APIs provide InsurTech developers with the tools they need to easily plug essential functionality into their applications so they can get back to focusing on their most innovative features. With a variety of deployment options and a diverse set of code-based solutions, we have the flexibility to meet your software’s unique use case and substantially reduce your time to market.

Whether you’re looking to integrate document viewing, collaboration, or processing to your InsurTech platform, our SDK and API-based products can help you deliver the InsurTech benefits your customers are looking for. Learn more about our insurance solutions or contact us today to demo one of our products.