Transformation is inevitable: Modern Insurance Magazine

Lydia Heap | 10 December 2021
Read Managing Director, Marc Holding's recent contribution to the Editorial Board for Modern Insurance Magazine
Transformation is inevitable: Modern Insurance Magazine

Looking at the wider business environment, our sector is behind the curve with smart technologies, but it is seeing increased traction. Linked closely to the "industrial revolution 4.0" I see smart technologies evolving those technologies that are part of the ongoing digital transformation of the business; machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things. As an accident repair business, we see this as one of the last true areas where market differentiation can be gained, and also where leaps forward in process (and waste-related cost reduction) efficiency and customer service can be gained.

Accident repair businesses commonly operate on a ratio of roughly 1:1 for staff that fix cars in a site, versus those that carry out repair related administration. A huge chunk of this administration is ripe for streamlining through smart technologies and I'm looking forward to this being one of the key developments of this decade. This is an area for which we have ringfenced a large part of our internal resource investment over the next couple of years. For our sector especially, we will have to battle between the importance of the human touch in customer service, and the drive for digitalisation.

Our sector generates lots of data, and with increased digital processes this could be expanded further. However, this mass of data is currently not being used to its full potential, with the Big Data revolution still to make its mark. In the coming years predictive analytics will start to drive increased productivity and performance in repair centres.

With regards to our supply of services to insurance companies, for historical reasons this remains a manual and labour heavy process. Smart contracts will start to find their way into the supply chain over the coming years. E-signatures were the first step in this space, but smart contractual agreements give increased transparency, auditability, and security at a reduced cost.

Digital supply networks across the wider supply chain, especially around parts inventories, will allow for real-time inventory data. With parts being a key impactor on the process of repairing cars, access to real time inventory - linked to robust capacity planning - will allow pull updates (as opposed to push) for both customers and clients, with increased levels of customer-led self-service starting to show how this element of the claims process could begin.

However, this data must be used responsibility. It comes with a greater need for the protection of people's rights to privacy and security. We must objectively police that this information is used fairly. There is a long way for our sector to go in this area and some of the costs of transformation for larger businesses will be eye watering, but the need for change is here. This change is inevitable so better to get going sooner, rather than be labelled our sector's King Canute.

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