Digital Transformation is King’s world. He is part of a Fast Track team set up in 2012 to explore new technologies, accelerate the implementation and development of existing platforms, and create a culture of change and innovation at LV=.
“When we talk about the digitising of customer contracting, it’s highly variable — depending on the type of product and the audience. Most processes have an element of digitisation in them. Many processes are strongly digital at the front-end, and the whole process becomes less digital as you move through.”
Insightive.tv: Where are your priorities when it comes to digitisation?
Robert: We’ve seen, as part of the Fast Track work we do, a number of organisations that are trying to style the proposition of really digitising the claims process. But our view has tended to be that customers, during the claims process, want someone’s voice on the other end. They don’t necessarily want to initiate it digitally.
One of our goals is a light but stronger governance principle. And I think that behind this is that one size never fits all. Some of our initiatives are small pilots and trials, some larger developments, and others are working with third parties that are doing the heavy lifting.
We are working closely with DocuSign, which is more than just an e-signature solution, and has a whole workflow secure data component. We are also working with OpenSpan, now part of Pega — they provide robotic automation solutions.
Insightive.tv: What are some of the benefits you see from digitisation?
Robert: One case isn’t representative of the whole process, but it gives a good flavour of what’s possible. But, for part of our claims process, we were replacing a manual paper-based system with a DocuSign solution, and one case went from a phone call to us having all of the information in thirty-seven minutes. The average in the manual process was six days.
If we don’t digitise the customer contracting process, and it’s what people want, then they’re going to vote with their feet and go elsewhere. So, on that basis, I would say it’s significant, but not to increase, rather to maintain where we are.
Insightive.tv: Do compliance concerns come into account?
Robert: Absolutely. The modern technologies that we’re looking at here have a lot of the ability to do compliance checking, built in, and you don’t need heavy-weight processes to be able to deal with them.
A lot of our life products, our more complex products, pension products, for example, tend to be almost completely intermediated. So we sell those through brokers. On the other end of the spectrum, our commodity products, such as car insurance, travel insurance, are more direct and we take them through aggregators, as well as direct through our website.
All of these processes are aided by digitisation, and complete, specific, and untamperable records can be kept easily if the right technology is used.
Depending on the product area, King felt digital contracts provided an important avenue to improve customer experiences. He felt digital contracts had a high potential to decrease costs, and a tremendous ability to improve compliance. But in regards to creating legally enforceable outcomes, King felt that digital contacts did not create a significant change over where we are today.
Insightive.tv: What challenges have you faced in introducing digital contracts?
Robert: I think, to be honest, that it’s less about the process and more about the behaviours. Existing processes have grown up and sometimes become too risk averse.
I think it probably just falls back to what people know — as our biggest challenge. When people are experienced in things, they’re confident in them, and all this new technology looks really scary. And, actually, part of our job, I think, is trying to help people understand the art of the possible — that these technologies are robust; these technologies are scalable; these technologies are secure. And we’ve done all the checks to prove that, but you still got to win over hearts and minds.
Insightive.tv: What are the biggest drivers behind digital change?
Robert: I think technology is a huge driver. Some of the things we are looking at today were science fiction ten years ago.
As new generations of customers come through — their expectations are changing significantly. One of our principles is that if it’s true today it may not be true tomorrow. At the start, I said that our current thinking is that people want some amount of TLC during the claims process, but that may not be true in five years time.
One of the things we have tried to take advantage of is that our own staff are obviously part of these generations. For example, we recently ran a trial purely using our own staff because that gives us a good representation of real people and their reactions to how some of these things work.
We try and be close to what the customer needs are so we are in a good position to open very early doors and try some of these things out, pilot them and see what works and what doesn’t.
Rob King is Head of Business Technology Enablement at LV= since 2014. Rob has over 25 years of experience in developing new technologies, successfully driving changes in both business and IT to meet the demands of disruption and innovation.
LV= is one of the UK’s largest insurers, serving nearly six-million customers with a range of products from investment and retirement packages to car, home, pet, travel and life insurance.
THE DIGITAL FUTURE OF CUSTOMER CONTRACTING series