Innovation is key to insurance industry growth and profitability
as published February 1, 2023 | California Broker Magazine
By Joshua Schneeloch
While attending the Money 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas a week before Christmas last year, I had the distinct honor to both receive an award and moderate a panel of industry leaders to discuss the advent of artificial intelligence and automation in the insurance industry. In this article, I share some key strategic points we discussed and what that means for your successful future in insurance.
First of all, this was my first, but certainly not my last trip to the Money 2.0 Conference, which spotlights visionary work in the fields of law, education, marketing and financial services. I was deeply honored to be recognized by my peers for the innovative agent-to-broker performance platform my team has developed to accelerate the success of independent agents across the country, but especially here in California where White Wing was born.
The Award for Outstanding Leadership and Innovation recognizes a visionary leaders and exemplary individuals who strategically leverage technology and personal insight to help agents grow faster, smarter and bigger. I was equally honored to lead a strategic discussion on the future of technology in the $1.2 trillion insurance industry and how innovation will be key to growth and profitability.
How advances in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and cognitive computing are helping transform the customer journey
The title of the panel discussion was “The Future Of Insurance Is Here — How Automation Is Transforming The Customer Journey.” In this fast-paced era, consumers are constantly inundated with policy-purchasing services that offer ease and convenience. This panel discusses how advances in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and cognitive computing are helping transform the customer journey and simplifying everything for insurance professionals, from policy-making, and compliance to claims processing. The insurance industry has traditionally relied on manual processes for handling claims and other customer interactions. But this is changing with the introduction of new technologies like AI and Chatbox. These new tools allow companies to streamline their operations while providing better services to customers at a lower cost. This panel explores how this trend is changing the way customers interact with insurance companies and what this means for the future of insurance.
I was joined by a world-class panel of top industry luminaries. Here are their perspectives about the amazing opportunities created by the strategic use of emerging technology, coupled with executive excellence:
Paul Seegert, managing partner, PCS Advisers; president, PCS Sales Development Group
Driven by outcomes, Paul Seegert has played an integral role in changing the way businesses manage their second largest expense. Unwilling to accept the unsustainable renewal increases for employee healthcare, Paul set out to find a better way.
After carefully auditing each component of a typical employee benefits package, it became overwhelmingly obvious that most insurance plans lack efficiency of costs and quality of care which underserves both the employees who participate and employers who pay the premiums.
With that in mind, Paul’s mission became to architect a healthcare solution that would generate return on investment (ROI) for the employer while better serving the workforce. The outcomes were so drastic that Paul has become nationally recognized as a leader in the healthcare space, speaking on panels to share strategies and insights with advisers and executives looking for a better way.
Says Seegert, “I’ve seen it stunt the growth of businesses that should’ve been flourishing — so much missed opportunity. The shame of it is, most employers don’t know they can manage their healthcare like any other supply-chain in their business. The insurance industry has conditioned us to think that their over-inflated products are the only option — and it’s simply not the case.”
Bob Nienaber, owner of Lion Street and CEO of BenefitRFP Inc.
BenefitRFP, Inc (bRFP) is a direct, high end, national provider of Executive Benefit Plan solutions. Their cutting edge technology provides companies and consultants with state-of-the-art planning systems. bRFP uses high speed data technology, service and integrity to help simplify the complex world of executive benefit planning. Headquartered in Sacramento, bRFP, Inc. combines various products and services from leading investment and insurance product manufacturers with robust and cost-competitive administrative solutions. They offer corporations a one-stop-shop for corporate executive benefit solutions. These solutions, combined with benefitRFP’s custom technology, the benefitMATRIX, LiSPT, benefitDIAGNOSTIC and the planBUILDER, help enable companies to attract, recruit, retain and reward their top talent.
The company’s mission is to empower business owners by giving them the objective financial insight needed to make the best decisions tailored to their needs, all while simplifying the process to give back our most valuable asset — time.
Decades ago, Nienaber predicted the potential of automation when he started out in the insurance industry, a time when the average agent met eight to 10 prospects a week. He immediately saw the potential to use emerging technology and social media networks to see hundreds of thousands of targeted prospects searching for solutions. That insight led to the creation of several companies including most recently, benefitRFP.
“Lots of people are afraid of AI because they don’t understand it,” Nienaber notes. “AI is your best friend if you want to be a top producer in the financial sector. If you want to reach a larger audience it can eliminate all the targets that aren’t truly interested prospects. AI allows you to drastically change your results.”
Uma Ganapathy, director, HealthCare Analytics, CareFirst, BlueCross/BlueShield
With over two decades in IT, Uma Ganapathy is a global influencer and healthcare IT leader. She is currently the director of Data Analytics of CareFirst Community Health Plan, Washington, D.C. Ganapathy is known for innovative models and strategies to improve access, quality, and equity of care for the Medicaid line of business.
As an international leader, Ganapathy has consulted in India, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Her global experience inspires her to nurture a culture of diversity within her team and organizations.
As to the future of AI in healthcare, Ganapathy can already see that AI is changing the industry that represents over nearly one-fifth of America’s gross domestic product. “The current trends, as well as the future projections for the impact of this technology on patient care, healthcare professionals, and medical processes, are truly inspiring,” she comments. “Currently, AI is already helping medical professionals spend less time on processes and more time on patient care. It is estimated that by 2026, AI will save Americans approximately $150 billion a year in healthcare-related bills. As is evident, the applications of this technology are truly limitless, and now is the ideal time for those looking to create the future of healthcare to gain expertise in this arena.”
Mayuresh Kulkarni, AI/ML Technical Program Management Lead, Adobe
Mayuresh Kulkarni manages Adobe’s AI/ML programs for the Applied Science and Machine Learning team. A world-class data engineer, Kulkarni previously spent a decade with KPMG Management Consulting. His focus was on delivering emerging technologies, defining product strategy, and streamlining operations for multiple Fortune 500 firms to successfully execute several large consulting engagements. He has consulted in a range of industries: hi-tech, fin-tech, banking, insurance and hospitality among them.
Kulkarni explains that, “as the insurance industry welcomes digitalization with a red carpet for innovation and efficiency, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI-ML) occupy a mission critical role in successful disruption through technology. This is the reason insurers have increasingly started to rely upon the essence of AI-ML. According to a recent study, more than 80% of insurers emphasized that AI was already a part of their business model or would be within the next three years.”
Furthermore, Kulkarni points out that according to his research, “up to a fifth of chief technology officers chose AI and ML as their business priority for 2023 and beyond. Insurance AI and ML continue a demand boom by all the competing insurers.”
Joshua Schneeloch is the founder and CEO of White Wing Insurance Solutions and White Wing Wealth and the author of the upcoming memoir, “The Favored Son, How a Black Orphan Conquered Europe on His Way to America.”