How IAM can help insurers realize a user-first omnichannel approach

Just like in retail banking, the insurance market has seen a move towards digital channels. According to a new report from McKinsey, one in four motor insurances in Germany are already sold online. Other property- and personal insurance products are increasingly being purchased through digital channels. It goes without saying that the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated this development. Pre-lockdown, 38 percent of European consumers reported their preferred sales channel for life insurance was digital. After the first few weeks of the lockdown, this share rose to 54 percent. According to McKinsey, insurance companies need to evolve their digital capabilities. Identity and Access Management (IAM) is key in making insurers’ digital channels secure.

In the report, ‘Moving to a user-first omnichannel approach’, McKinsey argues that insurers are already investing heavily in digitizing their customer journeys and processes. The authors of the report compare the evolution in the insurance market with that of retail banks, that have partially lost the customer interface to new entrants such as PayPal or TransferWise. To avoid this scenario, traditional insurers need to quickly move to a user-first, omnichannel strategy. The report outlines three elements that need prioritizing: availability of online purchasing capability, ease of navigating online customer journeys and seamless integration of sales support and advice.

One of the points that McKinsey highlights is the modern, flexible technology infrastructure that is key to the integration of microservices across channels. APIs to integrate additional internal and external modules are essential.

At TrustBuilder, we have noticed that insurance companies are indeed preparing their future, and by working closely with insurance leader Allianz, we now have intimate knowledge of that sector. Preliminary results that we saw from our work with Forrester and our joint survey on our IAM maturity model, show that insurers are accelerating their digital transformation journey, and see IAM as an enabler in that journey.

As we see it, insurers are currently already using IAM to reach four objectives:

  • Delivering better customer experience: besides the existing indirect, broker-only model, insurance companies are now enabling a direct channel to communicate with customers. This raises the bar for customer experience. Brokers, too, expect consumer-grade ease of use when authenticating for insurance applications. Better customer experience comes through many paths: enabling users to log in with their own authentication method of choice, enabling passwordless authentication (for instance by using TrustBuilder Mobile Authenticator), using adaptive authentication, allowing single sign-on, etc.
  • Digital onboarding: insurers want to make life easy on customers and brokers by allowing digital onboarding. Digital onboarding also does away with paperwork, thus reducing the number of human errors, and increases customer loyalty. An IAM, like io Suite, supports digital onboarding thanks to its connections to many Identity Providers.
  • Omnichannel support: whether customers are using a smartphone app to consult their insurance, or access a portal through a website, they want the same experience. TrustBuilder Mobile Authenticator brings passwordless authentication regardless of the platform a consumer is using.
  • Building ecosystems: insurance companies are already enhancing their own offering by combining their services with third-party applications. As the McKinsey report states, APIs are essential in delivering a seamless experience to the customer who jumps from one application to another inside that digital ecosystem. The role of IAM lies not only in securing these APIs, but also in orchestrating authentication methods and connecting with different Identity Providers.

Forward-looking insurers care about customer experience and offering digital channels. But, above all, they are developing digital ecosystems and working out new business models and ways to tap into new revenue sources. For these companies to succeed, a powerful IAM that combines airtight security with excellent customer experience is key.


Frank Hamerlinck

Frank Hamerlinck

As co-founder of global trade management leader Porthus, customer experience platform NGDATA, and strategic consulting services company innacco, Frank embodies the entrepreneurial mindset. His 20+ years of ICT experience is complemented by his position as ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ at iMinds and coach at Netwerk Ondernemen.

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