The sun is shining, pints of beer are winging their way on trays across pub gardens and roots are being coloured in hair salons. If Boris is right, this will be the next big step on the 'irreversible' path out of lockdown.
360Globalnet has worked with some of the world's leading general insurance companies, digitally accelerating claims handling during the COVID-19 pandemic. With 100s of years of combined GI experience in our team, we know that the path back to normality is hugely welcome but believe five lingering questions remain. Here they are:
1) Is this the last time?
A global pandemic was never high enough on any corporate risk registers prior to COVID-19. It will now be in the top 3 forever more. We also know from dangerous variants around the world right now that this will not be the last time. 2020 was the first for 100 years and the one where everyone got caught short.
At any point, a novel coronavirus with resistance to current vaccines could march us straight back into 2020 territory or worse. For GI insurers, a good response was not just about the ability IT-and HR-wise to locate staff out of offices but the fundamental ways that processes changed in this new world.
2) How have competitors weakened or improved?
Surviving 2020 intact was a priority for all general insurers but some went much further and took the opportunity to rethink their digital sales and claims strategies. In the process, many companies - particularly those who adopted no-code platforms such as 360Globalnet's to strip time and cost out of traditional IT development - put themselves in a strong position to emerge not only better than they were but more prepared for any future shocks.
3) How have my customers changed?
Insurers had to change but so did all of their customers in their broader lives. Most notably, online management of their lives - shopping, health, financial services and even ordering supper - became the norm. Along with this, the mega retailers got a chance to change public expectations of speed of service but also speed of notification.
The genie is out of the bottle on customer expectations. If it doesn't feel like Amazon, it doesn't feel right. Any insurer planning a return to paper claim forms and glacial speeds of response will find their policyholders voting with their feet - or their mouse!
4) Will claims profiles return to pre-COVID norms?
Some motor insurers were able to return premiums to customers on the back of plummeting loss ratios. Home insurers found that claims for theft disappeared, Escape of Water losses fell while home accidental damage claims rose. Meanwhile travel and business interruption insurers experienced an annus horribilis with the sort of frequency and disruption that was previously reserved for worst nightmares.
It will take time to understand if this was a one way door or a two way door in claims profile terms. 360Globalnet's unstructured data analysis tools have been fully employed helping insurers to understand more deeply what their current books of business look like underneath the surface.
5) The world has changed but have we changed enough?
This is the fundamental question for every insurer on the planet. Every single one will have changed, but insurers who approached the threats COVID-19 presented as opportunities will also have changed enough to steal a march on competitors less willing to disrupt themselves. The pandemic has given insurers with a positive mindset the opportunity to accelerate, digitise, update and use their windscreens rather than rear view mirrors. The benefits may not be felt by the markets immediately but by the end of 2021, differences will emerge.
If you're an insurer with a digital challenge - one presented by COVID-19, its effects or the actions of your competitors - 360Globalnet is happy to help you move quickly to make sure your answers to all the important questions are positive.
Get in touch today for a no-obligation chat.