EIS is the San Francisco-headquartered operator of a platform that allows insurers to rapidly create and deploy new and innovative products and services via open APIs. It has recently launched its coretech platform in the UK to help domestic insurers offer a new generation of insurance products and services in response to changing consumer habits and an evolving regulatory landscape.
FinTech Intel: Congratulations on your UK launch—how much consumer appetite in the UK is there for value-added services from insurers?
Olivier Vaysse: There is a huge appetite from the UK market to be able to add value-added services to their offering, whether they are a corporate or private insurance provider. The UK is the home of insurance and is one of the most competitive markets in the world. Yet, insurers are currently struggling to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The problems are also exacerbated by the fact that it is proving incredibly difficult to keep up with the demands of the consumer, especially in reaction to the global pandemic and the chaos it has caused.
In a recent EIS survey, UK insurers and insurtechs told us that the most important objective of an insurer of the future is to move beyond protection to offer value-added services.
By using a cloud-based platform, with open APIs that provides access to value-added services, insurers can increase customer engagement and improve the experience they can provide, by selling services that align with their needs. This way, insurers can rest assured that they’re going above and beyond to build a sustainable relationship where the customer remains happy and won’t leave for a competitor as soon as their policy ends.
FinTech Intel: How restrictive is legacy technology to being able to deliver these services?
Olivier Vaysse: The insurance industry is well known for being slow to modernise and adapt to the needs of customers. This has resulted in poor customer experience and high customer churn. This matters because it costs insurers seven times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Despite a desire to improve on this, many insurers have failed to deliver because of the limitations created by existing legacy systems.
The legacy technology used by insurers for decades was product-centric, not customer-centric, and not designed to be flexible. The core systems deployed even three to five years ago simply were not designed with the microservices, APIs, and flexibility necessary to support insurtechs, emerging business models, and digital insurance ecosystems. They are, in effect, modern-legacy systems. Some of these modern-legacy systems now operate in the cloud, which is great. But it doesn’t change the fact that many need to be updated, or even re-architected, to easily participate in the new digital insurance ecosystems that can deliver value-added services to customers.
Insurers need to take a new, coretech approach to transformation and leverage the next-generation technologies and methodologies pioneered by consumer-focused big tech and combine with newer, more open insurance core systems. This platform can easily consume insurtech and data, in all their forms, and serve as a hub for the array of solutions comprising digital insurance ecosystems that will help provide unique customer experiences.
FinTech Intel: What have your insurance customers been able to achieve once they begin using your platform?
Olivier Vaysse: Customer centricity is paramount. By allowing carriers to realign their business model around the customer, insurers can better understand and provide for their customers as people, not policy numbers.
Our platform provides insurers with a 360-degree view of its customers—across policy administration, underwriting, claims, billing, and all customer engagements.
Our insurance clients have used the platform to simplify core back-end processes then create customer-facing apps for quoting and servicing that are omnichannel and tailored to the personas of their customers. The open architecture has allowed clients to easily integrate with insurtechs providing usage-based data or broader distribution of their insurance products. Clients also take advantage of being able to support both general and life, accident and health insurance products on a single platform in multiple countries. Regulatory differences between geographies are handled effectively through extensive product configuration and integration to the related ecosystem of data sources and agencies.
FinTech Intel: How important are APIs to your offering?
Olivier Vaysse: APIs are a cornerstone to our offering and we firmly believe the success of the insurer industry rests upon the use of these technologies.
APIs enable insurers to expose core processes such as quoting and claim processing, which significantly improves customers’ digital experiences. Ultimately, this will help insurers all over the world use internal and external data much smarter, to capture and delight customers along the policy life cycle for longer. Our platform has a connective tissue of more than 10,000 internal APIs and over 1200 open, or external, APIs.
The clever use of APIs is also allowing insurers to modernise front and back-end operations in a more progressive, phased way without having to invest in full technology infrastructure overhauls. This allows the insurers to stay relevant by implementing new services aligned with the needs of the consumers.
FinTech Intel: What scope is there for EIS to build an ecosystem of digital services around insurance, in partnership with incumbents and insurtechs?
Olivier Vaysse: In recent years, insurers have struggled to adapt to the changing demands of consumers. They are being held back by their legacy estates that are slow to change, difficult to integrate, complex to draw insight from, and lack the agility to deliver innovative services.
Our initiative to create an intelligent digital ecosystem will allow insurers to take a more radical approach to transformation, offering a greenfield platform for transitioning away from legacy technology. It can be seen as an accelerator asset that shows insurers that moving away from legacy is much quicker, cheaper and more sustainable than ever before. It will demonstrate a fast and low-cost stand-up of core platform and architecture, the ability to leverage new partners and insurtech innovation in a plug and play model, and the ability to adopt more customer-centric business models such as episodic insurance.
The ecosystem will allow insurers to break into the platform economy and develop new products and value-added services, fit for the customer of tomorrow. What’s more, it will provide insurers with an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competitors with a connected platform that allows them to understand the customers and their needs.
FinTech Intel: How important is the new partnership with EPAM to your progress in the UK?
Olivier Vaysse: Our partnership with EPAM is incredibly important to our expansion in the UK market. EPAM has a wealth of experience in software implementation and is a partner we can rely on. THe coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has highlighted just how important digital transformation is to the insurance sector, with insurers unable to sit back and ignore the benefits.
Our research has shown that 71% of respondents have accelerated initiatives to digitise operations and customer experience as a result of the pandemic. Our partnership with EPAM will allow our customers to quickly and efficiently implement our coretech platform, which will help to set them up for ecosystem insurance serving the customer of tomorrow.