CGI: Digital Business and Technology Strategy in Insurance

Companies should rethink processes whilst digitising, says Daren Rudd, Head of Business, Technology and Innovation Consulting, Insurance UK at CGI UK

Founded in 1976 and headquartered in Montreal, Canada, CGI is among the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world. Having supported its 50,000 clients around the world throughout their digital transformations, CGI is at the forefront of successful digitisation — but also understands where many companies are going wrong. With predictions that worldwide expenditure on digital transformation is expected to reach US$3.4tn by 2026, and 91% of businesses already engaged in some form of digital initiative, getting it right is crucial.

 

Daren Rudd, Head of Business, Technology and Innovation Consulting, Insurance UK at CGI UK

As Vice President in CGI UK Insurance business and leads the Business, Technology and Innovation consulting team, Daren Rudd leads experienced industry, product and technology experts, providing advisory on insurance digital business and technology strategy, insurance industry and technology insights, future operating model & architecture design and human-centred innovation and design. He sat down with us at InsurTech Digital to share his expert insight around digital transformation.

Where are companies going wrong with digital transformations?

The biggest on-going challenge I see when organisations are setting out their digital strategy is a tendency to put too much faith in technology as a silver bullet to solve underlying business problems. The hope is that a digital layer over legacy processes, systems and products will modernise the business. However, that misses the opportunity to rethink processes and products which are fundamentally limited and constrained from having been designed to move paper documents around a business.

If you look at insurance digital transformation programmes, when you drill down to the gritty detail of what has really been achieved, too much effort has gone on digitising paper forms whether they are proposal forms, contracts or claims forms. These tend to retain the layout of the original paper form and with it the thought processes of how this “document” should be handled.

What can be done to improve digital transformation in insurance?

We need to challenge ourselves more to start with a clean sheet of paper (and I do see the irony of that analogy).  It’s important to first ask “how do I make this experience better for my customer”. We should then be asking “am I really making my customers' lives better, or mine?”. This is especially true when it comes to gathering the data, we need to assess the risk. We can do better than asking them to fill in an online form or to complete a document they would never use again.

I’m aware that this is not easy, especially when the pressure is on to reduce operational costs now. The draw of deploying intelligent automation and new digital layers is that they offer a quicker route to an immediate benefit. But we are left with the underlying complexity of the paper-based thinking.

For years now the approach has been to use digital technologies to act as a sticking plaster to bury more fundamental challenges of out-of-date processes and systems. Partly because the challenge has felt insurmountable. We are seeing the same attitude being taken for GenAI specifically. They are being used to help find insights from unstructured documents or poorly designed data stores, rather than addressing the underlying issue of those data sources. 

Henry Ford revolutionised car manufacturing not by applying a new technology over the existing process for building cars, but by challenging the established thinking. He reshaped the foundations of the manufacturing process and by creating the production line, transformed productivity. If we don’t take a similar approach in insurance, we will continue to constrain our ability to move beyond paper.

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