With the digitalisation in the insurance industry there will also be an update of professions. In the future, underwriters at insurers and customer or specialist advisors at brokers will have to have more IT skills than was the case in the past. Low-code solutions are a possible answer to this problem, so that they can still work efficiently and successfully. With them, insurance experts can customize digital products and processes even without in-depth programming knowledge.
In the future, insurance experts at brokers and insurers will not necessarily have to have knowledge of user interface design, minimum viable product (MVP) or Scrum to do their job well. After all, a helpful factor for successful work can be software that can also be operated by non-IT experts and can be further developed beyond that. The only prerequisites are a certain amount of initial training and, above all, the willingness to develop further in these areas.
The magic word: Low Code
This is exactly the approach taken by low code platforms, which can be used to map individual products and processes without knowledge of software development and programming languages. Various aspects of a digital insurance product can thus be built and modified by customer or specialist advisors themselves via calculation rules, tariffs, logical rules for the input and output of risk questions or documentation on screen.
The user interface for this is – greatly simplified – a mixture of text/image editing and Excel configurator, in which the desired products and processes are clicked together, defined and configured using tools and appropriate ready-to-use modules. The individual options correspond in the background to “real” program code, which is automatically functionally linked and checked.
Fast customer orientation
Also and especially in the industrial insurance business, this approach makes it possible to react much faster to market requirements and to offer customers innovative solutions. It works more efficiently than in previous methods, in which departments with long requirement specifications usually brief the internal IT and/or service providers, the IT then develops something over weeks and months – which the departments may then reject again in the test phase. In other words, a lot of time has been lost so far.
Forecast: Low code platforms established in three to five years
Underwriters and specialist advisors design their digital products and processes themselves – this requires rethinking on both sides. IT staff must accept that there are colleagues outside their area who can administer IT. On the other hand, insurance experts must start thinking in terms of system processes, move away from their current tasks and add new areas of responsibility. It will probably take another three to five years before this way of thinking and working becomes standard and such processes are really established in the value chain in industrial insurance.
Further development of the platform
So are low-code platforms the solution to all IT questions of the insurance brokers of the future? Do they even partially make the IT department superfluous? I don’t think so. Low-code platforms work well if they allow for adaptability within a clearly defined framework – and no more. The focus on ease of use is then at the expense of flexibility, because the platform cannot display some things directly and so simply. This is where the IT people come into play again, at the latest. Together with insurance experts, they must then push ahead with changes to the platform based on practical experience. This is a very evolutionary process.
Since products and processes are digitalized and (partially) automatically managed at the same time, which means that it is possible to react quickly to trends and customer wishes, such further developments of the platform in the background are not decisive for business. This is because even these do not require development phases lasting months with uncertain outcomes: The modular structure of the platform itself enables rapid changes.
The demands on the job profiles in the future industrial insurance sector are increasing. In addition to technical skills, they will also have to possess profound IT knowledge in order to respond adequately to market requirements. Low-code platforms can be a possible answer and must be developed further even in a team.
This article was created in the context of a partnership of mgm and the insurance broker Gossler, Gobert & Wolters Gruppe (GGW) from Hamburg. In the series different participants write from and about the practice.