How can automation be used for good? Facilitating bigger impacts in insurance

As an innovative technology, automation has numerous surface level benefits for organisations – it saves time, increases productivity and enhances employee and customer experience. Often overlooked though is the role automation can play in creating a positive impact on society.

Organisations have never been more connected to the outside world. Both employee and customer expectations around Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals and the importance of social value have risen exponentially, with businesses becoming more motivated than ever to invest in initiatives to support this.

One such initiative is the use of Automation for Good.

Automation for Good is the utilisation of intelligent automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver better products and services aimed at improving wellbeing, enabling sustainability goals, and generating social value. How though can this technical solution drive bigger societal impact, especially within a traditionally slow-moving industry such as insurance? Let’s discuss:

Automation for Good in insurance: Insuring the uninsurable

Insurers, at their very heart, are here to protect. This rings true for more than just the businesses and people they insure, but also the employees who work for them. Protection is a core value which can be enhanced by Automation for Good.

Currently, it is estimated that only 40 per cent of risk is insurable. The people impacted the greatest by this are the most vulnerable within our societies, for example, those who are one missed paycheque away from poverty, or those in less fortunate countries whose income could be destroyed by a natural disaster, such as a drought or flood; those deemed uninsurable.

Insurers serious about improving their social value must insure the uninsurable as a means to protect them. How though, can these organisations make insurance policies accessible for those who need them most?

While some companies are already doing a good job of this, for example Vodafone fronting insurance for clients who can’t afford lump sums in one go, Automation for Good can step in. By helping to create and manage a distribution service, share data and information throughout the channel, and enable better communication, Automation for Good can empower consortiums of organisations to better collaborate for the benefit of those deemed vulnerable.

Whether that’s insuring those who don’t have a bank account, or small businesses without the upfront funds, this will allow the uninsurable to protect their most important assets and livelihoods.

Reaching sustainability goals

According to PwC, ESG is one of the top industry issues impacting insurance in 2022. As employees, customers and investors start to express their concerns around ESG-related issues, where does this leave insurers?

Unfortunately for organisations within the industry, hitting their own internal ESG goals isn’t the only sustainability challenge they face. Rising pressure from stakeholders means it has now become key for insurers to analyse the ESG credentials of every company they insure, before they underwrite and support their transition to a low carbon economy. This is a huge task, but one where Automation for Good can assist.

As a tool for insurers to ease the burden on already overstretched workers, this agile technology can quickly and easily automate reports on potential customer’s ESG efforts, providing on-going risk advice making decisions around insuring them easier for staff, while reducing the amount of work teams have to do in the process.

Alongside this, Automation for Good can play a role in influencing better sustainability practices internally within insurance organisations. While a business might have good ideas around encouraging green travel for their employees, or putting ride share strategies in place in a bid to reach net zero goals, these policies are often hard to maintain without the assistance of automation or technology in general.

Automation for Good can help influence people’s behaviour for the better, for example, through the use of digital assistants to suggest more environmentally ways to have a meeting or get to work, or to automatically flag when an individual is exceeding set limits around their carbon footprint. The encouragement of a robot assistant to help inform people to make the right decision in a quick, efficient and seamless way is key to sustainability success.

Supporting people’s wellbeing

The focus of insurers has changed. The industry model has pivoted from selling products to encouraging prevention, whether that is through providing greater access to help and support, promoting better lifestyle choices, or helping people to become financially secure. Prevention, after all, is cheaper and better for stakeholders than cure.

This, however, just isn’t possible without trusted data and technology. Currently intelligent automation is being used in the form of digital assistants across different channels to help improve customer experience and outcomes. Alongside this, it is helping to offer personalized solutions for their customers, allowing teams to see what types of cover they may require, or what prevention tactics they can offer based on the data available – it’s about tailoring data to individual needs.

To further reduce risk and ensure prevention, many insurance firms are looking to move to real-time data. By doing so, they can better understand how their customers live and the big lifestyle changes happening to them such as moving house, having children, being diagnosed with a medical condition. Having this access to richer data will only enhance the capabilities of Automation for Good, better helping customers and improving their wellbeing.

Final thoughts

Whether a business or individual, Automation for Good can help insurers protect more efficiently. While this might seem like a nice to have, the fact of the matter is that the organisations which don’t implement this strategic technology will likely be outpaced and outpriced by their competitors that do. Automation is no longer an investment, but an imperative.

Positively, the industry, while it will take some time, looks set to become one of the biggest users of Automation for Good. Change is coming in the form of automation.

Automation for Good is all about people. Insurance has a big part to play in managing the risk our plant, economies and communities.

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