SMAC: What is it and How Can Insurance Companies Utilize it?
AIC. BOP. CPCU. In the insurance industry, it seems like there’s an acronym for every letter of the alphabet. Hold tight, because we’re about to add another: SMAC. Short for Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud, SMAC refers to the confluence of the four core technologies that are transforming business today. Think of SMAC as a sort of blueprint for how a business should be run in our increasingly IT- and data-driven world.
Let’s take a moment to go through the different elements of SMAC and see how they apply to the insurance industry.
S is for Social
If there’s one thing companies across all industries know, it’s vital that you reach the right audience at the right time through the right channel. Social media has created a world of opportunity for businesses to do exactly that, thereby enabling them to expand their customer base and market presence, increase brand recognition, strengthen customer relationships, and more.
In today’s insurance industry, companies are creating content for popular platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn to help leads and existing customers alike learn the basics of insurance and better understand their policies. In an industry that isn’t especially well-known for its warmth or charm, social media has made it possible for insurance companies to connect with their customers on a personal level, resulting in positive word of mouth, social sharing, and increased policy retention.
But that’s not all — a growing number of insurance companies are using social media in the aftermath of catastrophic events to offer insureds a helping hand when they’re at their most vulnerable by guiding them through the claims process and restoring a sense of normalcy. Some companies even use social media to combat fraud, investigating the posting history of claimants and other involved parties to gather additional information, identify inconsistencies in their stories, contact potential witnesses, and so on.
M is for Mobile
At a basic level, most insurances companies already use mobile applications for customer self-service, such as checking claims and paying bills — but some companies are exploring new ways to leverage mobility to empower employees, increase efficiency, and enhance the customer experience.
For example, many claims adjusters still rely on outdated technology — and, in some cases, paper documentation and manual processes — while out in the field, leading to slower response times, errors in documentation, and customer dissatisfaction. By equipping adjusters with mobile technology such as a smartphone or tablet that is connected to a customer relationship management (CRM) system, insurance companies enable their teams to directly enter information into the system while still onsite, upload photos, process customer service requests, and more, all on the go.
Mobile technology is also transforming the way health and life insurance companies reward policyholders for good behavior. One great example of this is John Hancock, which provides new policyholders with a free mobile-enabled fitness band that monitors their overall health. Insureds who make healthy decisions, such as eating well and exercising, are then rewarded for their smart choices with things like a 15% discount on their life insurance premium or free Amazon Prime membership.
A is for Analytics
As technology continues to evolve, analytics has become vital to understanding policyholders’ behavior and preferences and to making strategic business decisions.
For an example of analytics in action, look no further than property and casualty insurance companies, which collect data from telematics, agent and customer interactions, smart homes, and even social media. These companies then leverage predictive analytics to gain a better understanding of existing customer relationships, such as whether an insured is at risk of cancelling their policy or lowering their coverage. Agents can then use this information to dedicate special attention to those at-risk customers, thereby ensuring that their company doesn’t lose valuable business.
Insurance companies can also use analytics to create a timeline of their customers’ journey with their business. In 2013, MetLife debuted The Wall, a “Facebook-like application that provides service and sales reps in call centers with an overview of customers.” The Wall was designed to enable insurance agents to create a comprehensive customer timeline using customer data, allowing for more personalized interactions, thereby improving the customer experience. MetLife Infinity, an app that customers can use to capture and store photos, videos, and other documents, was developed with analytics in mind.
C is for Cloud
With more than 70% of insurers using some form of cloud technology and 10% of insurers running the majority of their infrastructure on the cloud, there’s no doubt about it, cloud computing has become mainstream.
And it easy to understand why — cloud computing:
- Breaks down departmental silos by enabling team members and departments to easily share information
- Eliminates the need for regular system maintenance and upgrades, saving time and money in the long run
- Securely stores different types of information in a single location, where it can be analyzed wholesale
- Grows business by enabling insurance companies to move away from legacy systems and eliminate IT backlogs
- Accommodates growth by scaling according to insurance companies’ needs
- Unifies customer data across different web servers and systems, including CRM and enterprise resource planning solutions
- Improves security by providing insurers with the flexibility to adapt to security and compliance protocols and regulations
SMAC — it’s the acronym that’s changing the way insurance companies do business, one letter at a time. By investing in SMAC technologies, insurers can guarantee that their company remains competitive and that customers remain satisfied.
Leah is the VP of Insurance and Healthcare at Hitachi Solutions and provides sales and industry leadership as a Microsoft Cloud, Dynamics 365 and CRM subject matter expert. Additionally, Leah helps to curate and manage Hitachi Solutions’ Intellectual Property. She and her team also work closely with Microsoft to produce industry specific solutions and stay current on product knowledge and expertise.
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