RNA and the Post-Pandemic View on the Insurance Industry

By John Bowers
John Bowers, the Actuarial Product Director of RNA Analytics looks at the insurance industry changes from covid, and which emergent trends are here to stay

After a little more than two years since the beginning of the global pandemic, conversations and column inches are increasingly dedicated to whether (or when) the pandemic is (or will be) over.

Whilst in the UK, the government has announced plans to gradually remove the harshest of its COVID-related restrictions, the huge wave of infection of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 still making its way across the world is confirmation that we have not yet reached the endemic phase when the era of extraordinary measures brought in by governments everywhere will be a thing of the past, and ‘new normals’ may finally emerge.

But, while experts concede that the end of the pandemic may be near, COVID-19 will be with us for a long time on the other side, and so too will many of the changes made in the past 24 months to adapt to it.

The global digital transformation that was already well underway before the pandemic took hold received a well-documented boost during this time, as companies and staff shifted to new ways of working over extended periods. From RNA Analytics’ key hubs in Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan, our consultants have worked with clients throughout the pandemic to help them react and adapt to the situation, and to continue their digital transformation journeys – all of which efforts would become the very determinants of their immediate and future success.

Retooling to future-proof the insurance industry

For insurance companies, the actuarial function now lies at the heart of the operation. The need for greater collaboration and control underlines the case for bespoke tools – modular but integrated – and designed not just to meet the challenges, but to go further and embrace the disruption.

By their nature, actuaries see opportunity in a challenge, and today, they have a wealth of data at their fingertips that, with the right tools, can be leveraged for operational efficiency and competitive advantage.

The need for high-performance, flexible and robust systems that offer scalability via the computing power of a cloud-based delivery platform is central to the work of the function as insurers emerge from the pandemic and at the same time tackle other unrelated, but still pressing challenges.

According to a report published in January 2022 by Capgemini, partnering with technology experts to accelerate process efficiency is already one of the most significant trends for P/C insurers in 2022, as retooling digitally significantly reduces both the cost and the turnaround time of complex underwriting and claims decisions. At the same time, P/C insurers are looking for more robust risk modeling capabilities to help them combat the recent increase in destructive weather events – part of a wider drive to embed Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals into strategy.

Third-party operators and the insurtech ecosystem

Capgemini’s Life Insurance Report from the same series describes how the sector will increasingly leverage cloud platforms to gain the operational agility necessary to accelerate innovation and seamless collaboration with ecosystem partners. With its myriad benefits and inherent flexibility, the cloud has all the potential to become the new standard approach, with equal appeal among small companies, which may struggle to manage their own resources when facing new regulatory requirements; and large companies that want to scale up operations in the cloud to avoid purchasing and managing cumbersome and costly hardware. The same report also highlights the increasing relevance of alternate data sources and AI technologies to generate actionable customer insights and make processes across the value chain more efficient.

As insurers work through this continued period of great change and development, third-party suppliers such as RNA Analytics can demonstrate their value in global expertise and local knowledge to help actuaries face the challenges yet to come.

We believe that the right combination of technical and actuarial consultancy is key to success here. While actuarial teams are working on advancing model sophistication, our technical teams are engaged with clients to help them understand and integrate the components they need into the end-to-end process to get the most out of the software. This bringing together of what once were two disparate functions represents a world of opportunities – a shift from siloed legacy systems to integrated, streamlined processes and ultimately, giving insurers the power to understand their businesses in entirely new ways – and to ready them for their ‘new normal’.

With a new year in full swing, and the end of the pandemic insight, the emphasis at the start of this new year is on rebuilding. At RNA, our focus is always firmly on listening to customers, so we can learn how best to support them with the right tools and techniques to help them achieve their goals now and in the future.

About the author: John Bowers is the Actuarial Product Director of RNA Analytics. He has over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry and has a strong technical background in systems development and risk modelling.  


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