Instacart, the grocery shopping and delivery service, and DoorDash, the restaurant delivery service, have both seen tremendous growth during the current pandemic. Much growth is due to the increased partnerships with more businesses who adapted their business models to include delivery – retail, grocery, restaurants and more. As a result of this growth, they have generated investment interest. The DoorDash IPO last week started with shares priced at $102, but by the end of the day, shares closed at $190 each. Early in 2021, investors will be able to take part in Instacart’s IPO, a potentially similar situation, where companies that were already on the rise, have grown to become essential with the continued COVID-19 restrictions.
In both companies, the presence of delivery hurdles are almost an invitation to create efficiency – and value for customers. People feel stranded. How can we reach them with what they want? How can they get what they want today? How can we make them feel safe? How can we improve “last mile” delivery to lower our costs and accelerate our service? COVID may have stifled some areas of the economy, but for others, it has simply invited innovators and leaders to take over. Delivery has always been a matter of convenience, speed and cost and it is now about a customer experience. The path that wins is the one that can create the shortest route with the least resistance.
Apply this to insurance. Insurers need to improve their business model, products, processes and services. The same people who have come to expect same-day groceries are online looking for insurance. The product development teams, executives and marketers within insurance companies, can often predict the types of new products and services that will need to be created to meet the need, but the launch of those items may be hampered by the traditional methods for adapting IT systems to meet the need. You commonly need to involve someone within IT who knows those systems, has the deep technology talent and too often is already saddled with too many projects. The result – high priority projects are limited due to the high demand for IT talent and limited IT resources.
The relationship between effective delivery and efficient development then becomes the most crucial variable in a competitive environment. Insurers will do anything to shorten the timelines and gain more control over the end results.
In Majesco’s latest thought leadership report, Insurance Platforms: The Digital and No Code / Low Code Platform, we spin the clock backward and forward to get the best possible view of a growing trend — technologies that enable speed instead of stifling it. In today’s blog, we draw upon the report’s assessment of the current environment for most insurers. It makes an excellent business case for why insurers should be pursuing cloud-based insurance platforms and how they will provide a broader and deeper solution that can tackle insurers’ digital transformation. We also set the stage for looking at the future, which we’ll do in our next blog.
The Current State of Platforms and Priorities
Cloud-based insurance platforms with no code / low code capabilities offer a path to freedom from the confines of insurers’ complex traditional core back office systems. But not all systems are that complex, or need to be. By simplifying and democratizing the creation of insurance applications with no code / low code capabilities, insurers can broaden their “pool” of talent by tapping into “Citizen Developers,” freeing up the deep technology knowledge and expertise of their IT staff that’s needed for the complex back office core systems to develop new applications and products that take advantage of new market opportunities.
Next Gen Core Platform with No Code / Low Code Configuration
Insurance has always been an information-intensive business with extensive needs for processing transactions and keeping records of policies, premiums, claims, reserves, and more.
Beyond basic business applications, insurers need software tailored to insurance-specific and company-specific needs and processes. In the past, with little of this commercially available, they had to build the applications themselves, leading to growing IT departments with hardware and staff. Even as vendors began to offer insurance applications, many insurers still felt the need to customize and/or create their own applications to address their competitive differentiation and advantages.
As the limitations of home-grown systems became more severe and as vendor offerings became better and more numerous, it became more palatable to switch from an exclusive “build it ourselves” to a “buy” approach, replacing old home-grown systems with “modern” on-premise systems. These systems had a heavy reliance on IT for code-driven configuration of products, processes and workflows. Business had to compete with each other to get their projects prioritized, then get in line to wait for IT resources to free up in order to code the configurations and customizations they needed to run the business. This is still the case in many organizations today.
The opportunity costs of lost business opportunities, higher costs, and inefficiencies pile up while IT slowly works through its project queue.
Next-gen cloud-enabled core platforms with no code / low code configurability changed the game dramatically. Now, business users and “Citizen Developers” become part of the “pool” of developers – expanding the potential projects that can be addressed by doing configurations via a simplified, visual interface with WYSIWYG capabilities. The platform provides the necessary architecture to support deployment at scale, versioning, security, upgrades, infrastructure management and accessibility. This enables companies to get essential products and business processes up and running quickly, often leveraging ready-to-use content and configurations, and focus skilled IT resources on more complex issues. It also affords a broad range of stakeholders the ability to “test and learn” creative new ideas that could lead to new competitive advantages.
In our rapidly changing insurance environment, these capabilities are more important than ever. The World InsurTech Report 2020 from Capgemini and Efma identified five critical priorities being driven by today’s new insurance customers, and accelerated to even greater importance by the COVID-19 pandemic:[i]
- Real-time response: Fast service and responsiveness
- Crisis-proof processes: Uninterrupted access to critical services during times of need
- Insurance-as-a-utility: Pay-per-use, on-demand coverage
- A caring partner: Showing empathy and making emotional connections with customers
- Digital experience: Self-service options with anytime, anywhere access
The emergence of cloud-based platforms in recent years is making it possible for insurers to adapt to these rapid changes by ushering in a new era of core system capabilities. Characterized by cloud, data, AI, APIs, no code / low code, and an ecosystem of partners, these systems afford insurers levels of agility to modify existing products and create new ones that was never before possible with previous core systems.
Horizontal No Code / Low Code Platforms
No code / low code has been around for some time – even Microsoft Excel has been used as a low-code tool for decades. Think of all the “spreadsheet applications” developed by finance and actuarial or the many core functional insurance applications such as loss control, specialty policy administration or even reinsurance.
The no code / low code market is now a top area of focus due to the rising number of use cases and a continued focus on digital transformation, rapid delivery, and innovation – with the AM Best Innovation Rating helping to spark the interest with a focus on operational innovation and disruptive innovation. Given the demand for technology expertise, the use of no code / low code platforms allow knowledge workers – estimated to be 10 times more populous than technical workers – to create applications while accelerating digital transformation.[ii] Given that insurance is not considered a “high tech” industry, the fight for technology talent is even more intense and limiting, and why these platforms are rising as a top priority.
Backing this up, a Novarica snap poll of insurers found that about 50% were using or had piloted a low code platform. Novarica projects that by 2025, at least 80% of custom development projects in the industry will involve no code / low code technology.[iii]
Key horizontal no code / low code capabilities include:
- Broad use cases by customers that demonstrate breadth, depth, flexibility, robust development capability, and maturity
- Native cloud with multi-tenant SaaS scalability
- Extensive security and seamless updates
- Pre-built integration to non-vertical systems (i.e. Google Maps, Chase, CyberSource, Twilio, SendGrid, etc.)
It’s no wonder that so many of the horizontal no code / low code players are active in the insurance market, companies like Mendix, OutSystems, and Appian. Likewise, some are using CRM platforms like Salesforce and MS Dynamics to create “applications.” While some of the horizontal players offer insurance industry-specific applications, most market their solutions across a broad range of industries, placing them squarely in the enterprise software market.
But what about vertical players? And what is the difference between horizontal and vertical players?
Digital Insurance Platforms with No Code / Low Code (Vertical)
Insurance industry-specific solutions are now emerging – some very specific and narrow in focus, and others with a wider range of capabilities similar to the horizontal players. Novarica suggests that the use of low code can be traced back to the portal, where many core system providers began offering portals that were specifically integrated to those core systems. But if you were an insurer with multiple core systems, this did not work. And you were restricted to the “out of the box” experience, which lacked differentiation and personalization.
This, plus the desire to create more personalized experiences and drive innovation with new applications that can integrate to core, created an opening for the entrance of insurance-specific digital no code / low code platforms, albeit many were still primarily focused on customer or agent portals rather than an array of potential applications. The broader vertical no code / low code platforms have both vertical and horizontal capabilities that make them much more valuable and robust for the insurance industry.
Insurance-specific digital platforms make it easy to rapidly create business applications using key components:
- with a variety of insurance apps and accelerators such as insurance objects, templates covering end-to-end insurance functionality like portals, page layouts, UI widgets and more.
- capabilities, data or services that can be used via a plug-and-play configuration, such as artificial intelligence (AI), allowing companies to create and launch smart business applications that integrate AI partner capabilities rather than creating their own algorithms.
- Pre-integration with the vendor’s core system and ability to integrate with other core systems.
- Dynamic, pre-built integration via APIs and integration hub to other third-party vendors, data sources and alternative channels (i.e. marketplaces, etc.) that connect to a variety of systems through SOAP, REST and OAS APIs without writing code and allow the ability to publish custom APIs for partners to extend and enhance digital capabilities.
- No code / low code capabilities including:
- Digital – Branding, visualization, journey design, and usage analytics capabilities.
- Configuration – Robust UI builder, data modeler, workflow and localization capabilities.
- Architecture – Fully cloud native, microservices, multi-tenant, built-in DevOps, release board and auto-scaling.
- Flexibility – Ability to provide sandbox and multi-geo instances.
These new vertical platforms with robust horizontal capabilities provide compelling advantages for insurers – a single platform for their digital business transformation that can support portals, personalized experiences, a broad range of innovative applications, and launching of new products or business models. These platforms accelerate the journey and can demonstrate value in days or weeks rather than years. This represents a much shorter route to the delivery of the same or better functionality.
Consider the following use cases:
- Agent portal to support not only quoting and servicing of policies, but also on-boarding, compensation, and more
- P&C multi-channel personalized quoting
- Embedding insurance in other platforms such as Shopify, Real Estate, Facebook, Payment vendors, and more, to establish new sales channels
- Portfolio-level servicing across policy, billing and claims
- Intelligent P&C claims intake
- Action-driven P&C underwriting workbench
- Pipeline insights and next best action for distributors
- Personalized L&A products with fluidless underwriting and rapid issue
And that is just a snippet of the possibilities to jump start or accelerate digital transformation!
Finding a single platform that can enable and accelerate that journey requires a broad set of technologies, including no code / low code capabilities that enable rapid development and market launch advantages. Majesco Digital1st® Insurance is that single platform that has helped insurers create a next-gen portal, personalized experiences, and new, innovative products, to name a few. It was recognized as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Insurance Agency Portal – a next-gen portal view.
The bottom line is that some insurance-specific platforms have all the capabilities and scale of a horizontal platform, but with the added value of insurance-specific content, accelerators and ecosystems that can jumpstart and accelerate an insurer’s digital transformation.
Are you taking the shortest route in Insurance Delivery? Your customers are and you need to be able to meet their expectations today!
In our next blog, we look at the Future State of Platforms and Priorities. What is the intended impact of digital platforms and mature ecosystems? How will our technology choices make our organizations more resilient and responsive? Are current priorities preparing insurers for market leadership? Read the full report today by downloading, Insurance Platforms: The Digital and No Code / Low Code Platform.
[i] “World InsurTech Report 2020,” Capgemini and Efma, https://www.majesco.com/white-papers/rethinking-life-insurance/
[ii] Matney, Lucas, Wilhelm, Alex, “Five VCs discuss how no-code is going horizontal across the world’s industries,” TechCrunch, August 22, 2020, https://techcrunch.com/2020/08/22/five-vcs-talk-about-how-no-code-is-going-horizontal-across-the-worlds-industries/
[iii] Higgins, Martin, “Things Heating Up in Low-/No-Code,” Insurance Innovation Reporter, July 28, 2020, https://www.insurancethoughtleadership.com/things-heating-up-in-low-no-code/