Digital first strategy in insurance requires smart use of technology


This guide outlines 9 tools the insurance industry should be using to move further towards a digital first strategy.

Faced with rising operations costs and stiff competition, players in the insurance industry are now under pressure to find ways to improve service while somehow keeping policy terms affordable for most customers. Though a seemingly impossible task, a growing number of insurance companies have proven that it is entirely possible by adopting a ‘digital first strategy’.

Digital first or “Digital by Default” involves reorganizing a business to primarily lean on current-generation digital tools over traditional methods. For insurers to derive maximum benefits, the digital first strategy must be done with a “greenfield” approach to ensure that no legacy processes and systems remain.

Once implemented, a digital first strategy creates data transparency and permits businesses to automate various processes in all areas of operation. This approach invariably reduces errors, increases efficiency, allows for user-initiated personalization, and permits insurance companies to focus on creating value and increasing market share. Given these benefits, it’s little surprise why so many insurance organizations have made the switch. But what does it take to successfully implement this type of strategy?

Tools for a digital first strategy

To pivot to a digital first strategy, companies have to adopt industry-specific digital tools to replace manual processes as well as earlier-generation software with limited capabilities. With the plethora of software available, however, it can be difficult for organizations to determine which they need most. At a minimum, here are nine tools that insurance businesses will need to transition to a fully digital business model:

Policy Administration Platform

Companies can reduce errors, delight policyholders, and focus on life insurance innovation by adopting modern policy administration platforms in their digital first strategy. Current generation platforms eliminate the manual copy-pasting and data transfers that characterized older systems, allowing companies to vastly simplify policy issuance, processing, underwriting, claims, and other typical activities. With new platforms, insurers can process more cases more accurately, freeing up decision-makers to concentrate on developing new policy products and delivering better value.

Document Manager

Managing paper documents and PDF files takes a significant amount of manpower at typical insurance companies. Using a digital document manager offers insurers operational scale and reduces the running costs of paper, postage, and printing. They should also offer the capability to seamlessly create and manage paper documents when needed, particularly in jurisdictions where these are required.

Enterprise Resource Planner (ERP)

ERP software in a digital first strategy enables insurers to save potentially millions of man-hours a year by allowing them to automate and streamline various operational processes. ERPs today can streamline everything from billing and supply chains to payrolls and financial statements. The potential of ERPs is further increased when they are linked to other compatible platforms.

Marketing Automation Tool

Payers can further drive life insurance innovation with the right marketing automation tools. These tools let payers create marketing and sales campaigns designed to drive customer loyalty and increase market share. Marketing automation software typically includes lead scoring functions and analytics as well as functions for designing omnichannel sales and marketing campaigns. When linked to other digital tools, they can be used to help drive customer loyalty and capture new market segments.

Analytics and Insights

Data analytics and insights tools designed for the insurance industry are useful for centralizing data gathered through other platforms and subsystems used by a payer. Centralizing data with these solutions ensures payers have clean and transparent data sets, helping to reduce risk and permitting accurate data modeling. New analytics products for insurance are powered by advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, which helps reduce analyst workloads and allows insurance executives to make timely business decisions.

Content Management Tool

Insurance companies today have to invest in content marketing to capture and retain market share. These efforts are made more complicated when multiple channels and brands are involved. A cloud-based content management tool in the digital first strategy makes it easier to manage content workflows regardless of where the content will appear. These tools can save content creators time when creating rich content for customer or employee engagement projects.

Knowledge Hub

A “knowledge hub” is a type of online library intended to assist customers and employees in understanding different products, services, and processes. These are important for digitalized insurers as they help centralize all kinds of useful knowledge, including product specifications, compliance requirements, procedures, and other pertinent knowledge. These tools help standardize employee knowledge across the entire organization. Additionally, knowledge hubs can provide customers with an easy way to find answers to their questions.

Portal Manager

Many insurance customers prefer online self-service options over talking to an agent. Using a portal management tool in a digital first strategy makes it simple to create self-service portals for customers as well as intranets and extranets for department or companywide use. Once set up, these tools can lower the cost to provide employees and customers with information and critical services.


Chatbots enable insurers to provide 24/7 customer service without having to maintain a large team of customer service specialists. These could be linked to knowledge hubs and other tools to provide quick resolutions to basic customer requests while human customer service specialists can focus on resolving more difficult cases. This makes chatbots a critical tool in improving the experiences of both customers and employees.


Committing to a digital first strategy is not always going to be an easy process. However, with the state of competition in the insurance industry, it is a necessity. Fortunately, choosing the right partners to provide technology and training will make it easier for payers to leave obsolete legacy systems behind. By selecting the right technologies and tools, payers are ultimately empowered to meet the present and future needs of even the most demanding policyholders.

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