How Much Can Automation Really Change Insurance?

Automation is becoming more common and accessible for many fields and industries, using technology to streamline workflows. But many adopters of automation focus exclusively on automating physical processes like manufacturing while completely overlooking the many applications of automation for everyday business tasks.

In data-heavy industries like insurance, process automation can make a world of difference. For insurers, automation can simplify and expedite claims processing, automate policy management, and ensure regulatory compliance. While these workflow benefits may seem worthy enough on their own, there are concrete gains to be had as well. In business, time is money, so each process that runs smoother and faster equates to saved labor costs, not to mention reduced human error. It’s no wonder that experts estimate that automation could save the insurance industry over $390 billion by 2030. But what does insurance automation really look like, and how can it transform your daily operations?

What Is Business Process Automation?

Essentially, business process automation refers to any time a system that can automatically complete a task is set up to replace the work an employee would previously have performed. While this can refer to physical processes, like robots used in automotive manufacturing, there are actually far more instances of automation on the software side. For example, specially designed computer programs are able to take over time-consuming duties such as data entry and integration, reporting, and payment processing. 

While some critics of automation are tempted to jump to the conclusion that this technology removes the need for human workers, that’s not the goal. Rather, automation is a tool to empower workers, allowing them to use their talents strategically. In most organizations, automated business processes take the weight of tedious, inefficient tasks off of employees, allowing them to spend their time on more important tasks. This can increase productivity overall and save costs, allowing employers and employees alike to focus their energy on the essential aspects of their jobs. Moreover, it increases worker satisfaction, as they are able to minimize dull, repetitive duties and engage more with creative tasks that require a human touch.

Automation for Speed and Accuracy

Eliminating tedious work is not the only benefit of automation. Two of the other most prominent gains to be had from process automation come in the form of speed and accuracy. These benefits apply anywhere automation is used effectively. In insurance, one of the areas that can benefit the most from these is data integration and analytics.

Conventionally, collecting and analyzing data is a slow process, with multiple time-consuming steps involved. Not only does automation take care of these processes almost instantaneously, it simultaneously eliminates the potential for human error. This saves even more time, in turn, by removing the need for constant data validation. Such an advantage is critical in the insurance industry, where data accuracy is key to every step of processing and settling claims.

Without automated data solutions, many organizations have to choose between speed and accuracy. Automated systems eliminate this choice altogether, providing significant increases to both. 

Insurance Business Processes vs. Other Industries

Automation is industry-agnostic, meaning that it can benefit organizations across the board, from healthcare and telecommunications to logistics and manufacturing. According to industry research, the healthcare industry could save $16.3 billion annually with automation, while manufacturing revenue could increase by as much as $4.9 trillion by 2030. 

For some industries, such as manufacturing, process automation is seen as extremely difficult and disruptive, requiring a significant investment in new facilities and hardware in addition to the usual costs of automation programs. However, this is hardly the case for industries with a focus on software automation tools. For businesses whose processes are primarily digital, such as insuritech, the costs are limited to the cost of the software systems. Depending on whether organizations are upgrading their existing processes or completely overhauling their workflow, automation tools can quickly earn back their own value. 

Of course, even within a single industry like insurance, each company’s processes may differ to some extent. But certain similarities ensure that every business can benefit from automation. Fundamentally, there are a number of processes, such as data entry, that apply universally. These processes can sometimes be automated using “off-the-shelf” programs that can be configured to meet a company’s needs, but ideally, industry-specific tools should be used to maximize the benefits automation has to offer. For instance, these niche insurance processes can be automated using specially designed programs like the TotalCheckr software suite from Populus Technology, which makes it easy for insurance TPAs to verify the documentation needed to process a claim — even across various jurisdictions.

Sometimes, businesses in the insurance space may have unique processes that require a more bespoke solution. For companies with even more specialized needs, it may also be worth having fully custom-designed programs created to spec. While this option can be more expensive at the outset than purchasing a ready-made solution, the long-term benefits of precisely tailor-made tools often far outweigh their initial cost. 

Finding the Right Tools

Ultimately, no matter your industry, automation has the potential to cut costs, increase efficiency, and keep staff engaged by cutting out unnecessary busy work. 

Leaders in the insurance industry have already begun adopting process automation solutions, putting them several steps ahead of those who have been slow to implement change. Many organizations are hampered by their reliance on outdated legacy systems and manual processes. Streamlining and optimizing business processes allows companies to reduce costs, maintaining a competitive edge regardless of the overall state of the market.

If you’re interested in implementing insurance automation for your business, Populus can help.

Populus Technology has over 25 years of experience providing technology solutions to our partners. We help support their growth by updating and automating their business processes, even creating custom software solutions for unique workflows. We also offer services to manage IT partnerships and direct our clients to the best third-party vendors in the industry, so they always get the best results for their tech investments.
If you need help transforming your own internal processes, Populus has the solutions you need. Just contact our team today to learn more!

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