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Why has insurance yet to see the full benefit of RPA?

As we enter 2022, digital transformation remains at the forefront of insurer’s minds. Ever-soft market conditions, catastrophe claims and a war for talent sees insurers face greater operational challenge than ever. Yet despite RPA delivering cost savings of up to 65% (NASSCOM), it remains on the periphery.

But why?

Largely, the answer lies in scale. Despite impressive ROI, less than 3% of organisations have scaled to 50 or more robots. As anybody who has worked in insurance knows, the average working day is full of manual processes. Whether debiting premiums, typing presentations or emailing quotes, admin overwhelms. Tackling 50 processes equates to little more than “throwing a few deckchairs off of the Titanic”.

Death By A Thousand Cuts

The issue is that until now, the tools most commonly adopted by the market do not allow for scale. That is not so much down to the technology as it is the delivery methodology. For now, expensive IT resource and process identification protocols have bottle-necked adoption. That forces prioritising of every use case, thus only “transformational” automation gets considered. And that means BIG, scary changes that take a long time to implement.

However, it is the cumulative effect of manual processing that is killing productivity. Every micro-process faces justification. The business dies a death by a thousand cuts, trapped under the weight of its own process.

Scaling through Democratisation

Instead, we must focus on empowering business users to automate their own work. Who knows better where Jim in accounts wastes his time than Jim himself? Who is more invested in removing that burden, than Jim? And who has has a better understanding of the exceptions and quirks of those tasks than Jim?

democratization (noun) – the action of making something accessible to everyone

Imagine a world in which every worker in your business has access to automation. It would become as ingrained in your infrastructural DNA as Microsoft Excel. IT’s function becomes that of overseer and evangelist rather than an implementer. Given the tools, they can centrally manage, review and authorise, user-designed processes.

We cannot expect citizen-users to learn to code, though. Instead, we must arm them with process recorders and drag-and-drop user interfaces. And departments must have evangelists to expedite adoption.

If nothing changes, nothing changes

Right now, automation is like a powerful Genie, confined to an IT lamp and the three wishes of senior stakeholders. But how powerful would Agrabah have become if all its citizens were as empowered as Aladdin?

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Andy Rear | chairman

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