FAQ: Low Code in Industrial Insurance

This FAQ answers frequently asked questions about low code in industrial insurance. What does the term mean? Why should insurers, brokers and underwriters in industrial insurance deal with it?

What is meant by the term Low Code?

In recent months and years, the topic of low code has become increasingly important. This term has existed since 2014 and was officially named for the first time by the research and consulting company Forrester. Low code stands for the creation of software with minimal programming effort.

Typically, software companies define the possible customizations and flexibility of the software. Users can customize and configure within a certain framework. This is done, for example, by means of options in the settings, or with more complex customization options in broker management or insurance software. However, such customizations are usually severely limited.

Low code, often also associated with the term “model”, expands the configuration options and allows the software to be adapted to individual needs without programming knowledge. A comparison is often drawn with Excel, where complex data evaluations and links are also possible without the user being called a programmer.

What is the demarcation from programming?

The line between “non-programming” and “programming” is exactly where experienced users would open the Visual Basic Editor to actually program and thus customize the software. Low Code thus moves in the area in between and makes it possible to open up previously rather closed or only slightly configurable systems in such a way that subject matter experts can customize the software themselves without having to do much more.

How does Low Code work?

The Low Code section is divided into several subcategories. As mentioned above, the concept of low code is not new. The classic low code term refers to platforms or systems from manufacturers that provide a small ecosystem in which small applications can be created with little effort.

Without programming knowledge and often as a replacement for the spreadsheet Excel, the simplest apps or applications with a few input fields and buttons are created by point-and-click.

In this area, there are many American providers who can implement this very well by offering the above-mentioned functionality via a web browser. However, these classic low-code platforms are often limited in their complexity and are not suitable for extensive enterprise applications, such as product or purchasing management, processes, or diverse interfaces into existing IT. Rather, they aim to be able to quickly put together small and lean applications.

What is the difference between low code and enterprise low code?

In contrast, there are enterprise low code platforms, which are characterized by the fact that they can also have complex applications created or customized. However, this means that the low code approach to enterprise applications is somewhat more complex, as there are more enterprise requirements. These include more complex input forms, list filtering, and data models.

Example: In a simple low-code application, a few data such as name, street and postal code are sufficient. In the enterprise sector, however, relationships between companies and employees are mapped, complex product structures, main groups and subgroups, etc. are required.

Here, the low code area is expanded to include very special tools, which are summarized under the term “enterprise low code”. The focus here is usually on applications that are mainly used within companies and in some cases also in the B2B area.

Another aspect of enterprise low code systems is that they start where simple low code reaches its limits. If, for example, an Excel spreadsheet becomes too extensive, it is no longer the right tool and individual programming is required. A good enterprise low-code platform is characterized by the fact that it is open and supports both low-code applications and also gives classic software development room to work together on one platform, thus dividing up the work in a meaningful way.

Simple low code platforms have difficulty integrating custom software engineering because they are not designed to work with classic Java tools or Java development processes. Therefore, when building more complex business applications, companies prefer to use enterprise low code platforms.

What is the relationship between industrial insurance and (enterprise) low-code applications?

There is a high degree of customization in the industrial insurance industry, which is why low-code and enterprise low-code are of interest to industrial insurers and brokers. Enterprise risk management and coverages are process-specific and sometimes customized for customers, brokers and insurers. The cooperation between brokers and different insurers is rather non-standardized as it is the case in mass retail business.

Digitization thus regularly gives rise to adaptation efforts when new broker partners or insurers are brought in. Adjustments have to be made to broker management programs or portfolio management software, as not all market participants follow the same “standards”. There are two options here: One is to contact the software manufacturer and ask for adjustments, either through individual development or as part of a new release.

However, waiting for the next version of the broker management software can sometimes take longer, depending on the priority the manufacturer gives to this feature. Alternatively, classic custom development can be done. In industrial insurance, however, there are many aspects that do not need to be covered by classic development, but can be realized with low-code.

What role do low-code platforms play in the insurance industry?

Low-code platforms enable insurance professionals such as underwriters and customer/specialist service representatives to create and customize digital products and processes without extensive programming skills. These platforms offer a simplified user interface that resembles a mix of text/image editing and an Excel configurator. Here, users can select and configure desired products and processes using pre-built modules and tools.

What are the benefits of low-code platforms for specialist areas in industrial insurance?

Low-code platforms enable business units to reduce their dependence on IT departments or external developers. With these platforms, they can create, adapt, and optimize digital insurance products and processes more efficiently and agilely. Low-code platforms enable insurance professionals to respond quickly to market demands, offer innovative solutions, and improve customer focus.

Can low-code platforms replace IT departments in the insurance industry?

No, low-code platforms do not make IT departments obsolete. Although these platforms enable customization within predefined parameters, they may lack the flexibility to handle complex or custom requirements. IT professionals play a critical role in working with insurance professionals to drive platform improvements and address technical issues beyond low-code capabilities.

In what timeframe is the adoption of low-code platforms expected in the insurance industry?

Low-code platforms are expected to establish themselves in the insurance industry by 2025. During this period, underwriters and insurance experts should adapt working methods so that they can actively participate in the design of their digital products and processes. At the same time, IT staff in industrial insurance should develop and support the IT administrative skills of their colleagues in the specialist departments and work with them to implement the necessary changes to the platform.

Why should industrial insurance brokers and insurers be concerned with this topic and what benefits do they derive from it?

The big advantage for insurers or brokers is that they don’t have to rely on their software vendor to address change requests and wait for quotes that may take up to a year. Instead, they can make minor adjustments themselves, with just a few clicks, to adapt their software to the needs of individual business cases.

Can business departments in industrial insurance use low-code development tools without IT knowledge?

Yes, specifically enterprise low-code allows non-IT professionals to build software with lightweight tools while adhering to the proper release and versioning process.

Here is an example about changing partner data in mgm Cosmo, specifically creating a new field “Number of employees”, and how to change the provided standard interfaces or add more interface and UI elements via new tabs or tabs. In german language only.

Which typical application examples from industrial insurance can be modeled and accelerated with low-code?

Low-Code can be helpful for simple and frequent change requests, such as new fields in the output document (PDF or Word document), changed signatures or adjustments of interface descriptions and parts of interfaces. Thus, data in CSV files or Excel files can also be adjusted in order to be able to import them.

Low-code platforms also enable the modeling and automation of complex processes in the insurance industry, such as risk descriptions, coverage details, and questionnaire generation.

Low-code provides the department at the industrial insurer and broker with the ability to design and customize software and digital work directly, without the need for programming.