A reliance on manual processes and inadequate technology leaves property/casualty insurers with major delays in updating their coverage forms. A new industry report found that as a result, most carriers surveyed needed six months or more to bring new products to market.

The Novarica report, underwritten by Verisk’s ISO, found a consensus among participating P/C carriers that the speed behind updating coverage forms and launching new products needs improvement.

“Insurers are prioritizing product speed to market for improved customer experience and capturing market opportunities,” Tom Benton, vice president of Research and Consulting at Novarica, told Carrier Management via email.

As a result, he said, the current forms management process leaves something to be desired.

“They view forms management as a key bottleneck due to the use of multiple technologies and manual processes that slow down searching for existing forms and updating them for new product development and approval processes,” Benton added.

The Novarica/ISO study is based on conversations with 10 P/C carriers who are part of Novarica’s Insurance Technology Research Council, all of which are currently active in the North American markets. Of the 10, 7 were mid-sized companies with annual written premium between $100 million and $1 billion. The other three were large companies with more than $1 billion in annual written premium.

Among the more compelling results: 60 percent of respondents said they took on average 6 months or more to bring a new product to market. No carrier interviewed said they could do so in three months or less, according to the report.

Participating carrier CIOs said that product development and delivery time varied wildly depending on regulatory approval, but also factors such as product complexity and internal process efficiency.

More than 80 percent said they wanted improvements including better integration between systems. Large numbers said they are also pushing for improved form management and automated compliance features as tools that could boost the product development speed.

Specifically, half of the carriers said they were seeking better tools to enable an improved process during product development in terms of searching for and updating forms.

What are the respondents’ current tools? According to Novarica, all said they used MS Office or similar platforms, as well as shared network drives. But this technology has prevented integration and left workers more dependent on manual processes for forms management, Novarica said.

“When resources don’t have dedicated tools, they use what they know best or what is closest to hand, which leads to suboptimal workflows,” the report noted.

There’s hope on the horizon. The Novarica/ISO report said that “many CIOs are considering third party solutions” and that they expect these technology upgrades or process changes to have “a major impact on improving forms management.”

The full Novarica/ISO report is called “Product Development: Using Forms Management Technology To Improve Speed To Market.”

Source: Novarica