Structuring international programmes – harnessing digital capabilities

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Digital capabilities have transformed the implementation and management of international insurance programmes, providing corporations with greater transparency and access to more data. But now those capabilities are being used to bring faster delivery, self-service capability and better insights and recommendations, to further improve the customer experience.

Due to the pace of change and opportunities in terms of digitalisation, the expectations and requests of risk managers have also changed. Ten years ago, customers would be happy to simply obtain their documents online. Now, they often have very specific demands, for example, issuing a liability certificate in Belgium at the click of a button, insights into how storms are going to impact their locations, or having up-to-date regulatory information on changes across Africa.

Risk managers are looking for a number of things from their international programmes. In the regulatory space, they require access to information and knowledge that provides the reassurance and confidence that what is being proposed will meet their needs, and that the programme will respond when required. And they want access to data on a 24/7 basis.

One thing that has become very clear is that technology is not the issue anymore. It is more than capable of doing what we require of it. The issue for multinational programme providers now is leveraging the technology that is available to satisfy the expectations of the customer – with the focus on speed, self-service capability, visualisation and access to insights.

Regulation and compliance
Compliance is key to global programmes, and regulations in the various territories covered by the programme have a major role in defining its structure. Businesses are increasingly looking to a global insurance approach, but insurance regulation remains local.

Digital solutions that are available in the market, such as the Zurich Global Program Support (GPS) tool, are designed to give control and an immediate response to the changing nature of global business. Such tools highlight the myriad local laws, regulations and tax obligations, with relevant, in-depth and up-to-date information.

But more importantly, they provide transparency on potential issues, together with key insights, and respond to exposure-related questions with data-driven recommendations. This ability to make instant changes to the programme enables the right insurance safeguards to be in place in a timely manner. Ultimately, these new tools take the uncertainty and complexity out of insurance solution decision-making.

In particular, the tools are a response to a switch from technical questions to business questions: How many buildings are there in a given territory? What is the claims experience during the last five years? What is the impact of a new factory on the programme? All of this information can be available instantly and the whole process of adjusting the programme can be streamlined and simplified.

Self-servicing and visualisation
Everyone wants access to the data quicker and in a format that they choose. It is about streamlining and simplifying the process, making the customer journey user-friendly and seamless.

The way forward involves moving from very insurance-driven technical tools requiring a high level of understanding about international programmes, to more business-orientated tools for a broader group of people. These new tools are about supporting companies with risk management capability across all levels of expertise and experience.

In some smaller organisations, which are nevertheless multinational, there may be an insurance buyer rather than a professional risk manager. The new digital capabilities are able to support everybody, regardless of their level of expertise, with risk management information and knowledge. Regulation and compliance is an area where this is especially relevant, as it is a complex and constantly changing landscape.

The tools provide access to policy documentation and certificates of insurance at the push of a button, reassurance that policies have been issued, access to invoicing in order to manage finance processes, being informed when claims are notified to insurers, and actively managing those claims.

Visualisation is an important element of these new tools because international programmes are complex structures and can be difficult to comprehend. The tools can provide the ability to have an overview of the programme, in one place, highlighting, for example, where there are local policies, out of territory covers, freedom of services policies and so on.

Recommendations and options
From discussions with customers and brokers, it has become clear to us that risk managers want a tool that provides insights around the data: recommendations rather than just information, and the ability to act on those recommendations.

For example, it may be good to know that a storm is coming, but it is far more useful to pinpoint whether it will hit a certain location, its impact on the business and the actions that can mitigate that risk. This is the next step in the journey that many in the industry are prioritising, including Zurich.

Effective, compliant programme structuring is vital to ensure a sustainable solution that responds exactly as the customer expects. And this means having a tool that allows locations or scenarios to be selected, and then provides instant actionable updates on risk, including all relevant legal and financial implications.

Customers and brokers want to be able to input specific information on assets, values, locations and claims, and then have the system make recommendations on appropriate and compliant solutions. For example, a risk manager may wish to change the operations in Spain from a simple sales office to a business-critical manufacturing plant (following an acquisition). Ideally, an online tool will then provide recommendations as to the best solution based on those changes.

This is a big step forward as it means that digital capabilities are enabling risk managers to make informed decisions. These tools can make recommendations as well as highlighting different solutions and options that are also allowed by the regulations, facilitating an informed decision, as opposed to simply providing a regulatory response.

Looking further into the future, these tools are also about building the foundations for the next step: data exchange. The aim to is to have a seamless user experience that can move from access to data, to communicating and exchanging data without leaving the single environment – which will, once again, transform the customer experience when it comes to structuring and managing complex international programmes.

Find out more about Zurich Global Program Support (GPS) Tool: www.zurich.com/gps

Contributed By Jonathan Newbery, head of digital experience, commercial insurance, Zurich Insurance Group