Are you ready for the insurance world of 2025?

Are you ready for the insurance world of 2025?
By: Kenny Hay, Director of Cloud, IBM ASEAN

The insurance industry is facing a broad range of disruptive pressures today: changing demographics, maturing markets, sophisticated fraud attacks, and rapid digitization. Consumers are also becoming more knowledgeable and technologically sophisticated, and are hence demanding more from their insurance providers. They want more targeted products, more channels of engagement, and higher immediacy in response.

As the world of technology continues to evolve, insurers will have to work faster, and above all, smarter if they want to stay competitive in the future.

According to a recent IBM Institute for Business Value study, "Insurance 2025" which explores the future of the insurance industry, we found that 79 percent of insurance company leaders believe technology will have a major impact on their organizations, and 71 percent have begun to use cognitive technologies.

Cognitive computing refers to next-generation information systems designed to accelerate, enhance and take advantage of human expertise. These systems can learn large amounts of data, reason with purpose, and interact with humans naturally. Their ability to handle unstructured data and range across wide subject domains gives them opportunity to remake business processes.

NTUC Income (Income), a leading digital insurer in Singapore, is embedding cognitive technologies operationally by adopting Watson Explorer to automate and improve its pre- and post-hospitalization  claims processes. Income receives an average of 14,000 hard copies of IncomeShield pre- and post-hospitalization claims monthly, which are currently reviewed, assessed and approved manually. This contributes to a significant number of man-hours spent on data entry before claims data can be processed to enable pay-outs.

To address this challenge, Income is using IBM Datacap to better manage claims that are received in a variety of media types. For the processing of data, Income is also using IBM Watson Explorer, a cognitive search and content analysis platform at different stages of the insurance lifecycle. It can read and analyse structured and unstructured data, such as medical certificates and bills. The length of hospital stays, medical histories, surgical procedures, and other contributing factors are then taken into consideration by the system before it makes claims recommendations and calculates the pay-outs to policyholders.

Overall, it is anticipated to improve the quality and speed of the decision-making process as well as the consistency of the claims experience for policyholders. Equally important is how Income strategically leverages cognitive capabilities to improve its employee satisfaction. By automating time-consuming manual data entry and claims matching, which are currently operational pain points for processing paper claims, Income’s skilled claim assessors can leverage their experience and judgment strategically and in a way that commensurate with their specialized skill-set, particularly when assessing complex claims.

So, the question is – are you ready for the insurance world of 2025, and to what degree has your organization adopted cognitive technologies?

Here are 5 fundamental questions to ask yourself before embarking on your cognitive journey:

1.     How can I better understand my policyholders to improve customer retention and offer relevant products & solutions?
2.     How can I reach my customers with the same standards, regardless of channel?
3.     How can I gain a deeper understanding of my claims process and better predict, detect, and investigate fraud?
4.     How can I apply additional data sources to improve the underwriting process?
5.     How can I analyze data to get advanced insight to avoid losses and respond post event?


Customer centricity has never been more important and the time has come for insurers to deliver consistent value and fully engage with their customers. So, will you be the next insurer that leverages cognitive technologies strategically?

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