Our Industry Innovator for May is Ruth Fisk, our resident insurance digital transformation expert. Ruth began her career working for an insurance company and when she saw what could be accomplished with technology and a little human ingenuity, she wanted to share it with as many fellow insurers as possible. Her passion for solving problems in the insurance is inspiring and we are lucky to learn from her every day.
We spoke with Ruth to learn more about her passion and how her team is working to transform the insurance industry. Here’s what she had to say:
What technology trends interest you? What do you think influenced this trend?
- Intelligent tools, and the possibilities that they present to insurers, intrigue me. These tools, such as intelligent capture, have evolved over time. When OCR was first developed it could not meet the needs of insurance because their content was too unstructured. Even when they do have structured forms they still have many variations due to state regulations or different edition dates. So insurers were not candidates for this technology until intelligent capture products came along that don’t require templates and can intelligently learn over time what to look for in a document with the ability to contextually understand its content.
What are the three things that you think will shape the industry in the next 6-12 months?
- Customers Expectations will continue to evolve and provide demand to the insurer for an even more personalized digital experience.
- InsureTech will continue to provide game-changing opportunities for insurers to innovate, improve the relevance of their offerings, and to grow.
- Increased Competition – new players that have the ability to innovate quickly are taking advantage of the opportunity to fill the gaps.
What is a common misconception about the insurance industry?
- Most people think that Insurance companies are extremely profitable because insurance premiums tend to be so high. That is not the case. Insurers rarely make money off the premiums they collect. The objective is to insure risks that are least likely to have claims, and if they do have claims that they collect enough premium to cover them. Insurers make money from their investment portfolios. They are very good at assessing risk so that they have underwriting profits and even better at knowing how to invest funds to drive profit.
Discuss a recent news headline pertinent to the industry – what is your take on it?
- World’s Insurers face $203 billion in losses from the coronavirus. Just to give some perspective as to how that headline hit me. In 2019, there were 409 natural catastrophe events globally for a total of $232 billion in economic losses. Now the insurance market faces almost that much JUST in economic losses created by COVID19. We haven’t even begun hurricane season yet! Insurance companies are going to need to look to extraordinary measures to reduce costs, handle higher volumes of transactions, and preserve capital, increasing surplus. Reinsurance markets will be tested. This is a much greater loss than that of 9/11.
What technology will have the biggest impact on the industry?
- Workflow will continue to have a huge impact on the insurance industry as they are still burdened with high volumes of manual repetitive processes.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their career in insurance?
- Longevity is important. Insurance is like healthcare, It will be around forever. Society cannot exist without it. Expand your knowledge, build expertise in one operational area, and then try another. Most insurance professionals have a background in many disciplines.
If you could change one thing about the Insurance industry, what would it be and why?
- The insurance industry for years has been stagnant, even with the pressures of Insurtech, digital transformation needs, and ever-changing customer preferences they are still very slow to make a change. If I could change one thing, it would be for the industry to be more nimble, less risk-averse to change, more open to new ways of doing things especially when proof points have been made and there is a solid business case to support the change.
Tell us about a recent project that you are proud of.
- Recently I helped several insurance customers to complete an Activity Based Costing exercise to help them justify their subscription to Intelligent Capture as a Service. Insurance companies are very risk-averse. Executives need a clear indication of return on investment in demonstrated measurements along with a strong business case that aligns with corporate objectives. Sometimes it is difficult to provide the granular views that are needed. I see myself as an efficiency expert with deep domain expertise, so I am able to help Insurers effectively secure budget and get projects approved through focused activities such as these.
What is something you have recently learned from a client/partner about the industry?
- Some regulatory requirements, specifically in the life space still require wet signature. This makes the digital journey complex for Insurers but widens the scope for technology solutions that manage paper.
What are the most common challenges you are helping to solve?
- Digital Transformation. Automated business process to Improve Service Levels, Enhance the customer experience, and reduce costs. Improve the user experience making by delivering contextual views of Information directly from where the user needs it when they need it.
What led you down your career path?
- I purchased the OnBase insurance solution for my insurance organization and the platform brought significant long term value to my company. I wanted to share my experiences with every insurance company I could so I moved to the technology side of the business so that I could help insurers to achieve long term success and give back to an industry that is so very important to society and to me personally.