Insurers need to spin the technology that offers their customers with more efficient, optimized and relevant policies. The ones that could be customized could be fed with data from a wearable/mobile device or the ones that are applicable for just an hour. With such customer focus initiatives, they yet need to achieve core business objectives like price and operational efficiency and compliance to stringent regulations. Could the Insurtech meet up the expectations? Could technology lend a helping hand? Let’s explore how the insurance vertical is evolving with the latest technology and what its future is –
The Present of InsurTech
The insurance firms are under immense pressure of reorganizing their house – customized policies, risk mitigation strategies, real-time analytics, instant claim settlement, sensors, drones and augmented reality (AR) apps are playing a significant role. So, what are the technologies adopted by the firms? Let’s take a closer look –
Robo-Advisors have seen a broad adoption across insurance sectors. Unlike olden days when hiring a financial advisor was a dream for many individuals, with Robo-advisors people of the low-income group could use DIY advisory for their financial portfolio. Should you opt for all critical disease cover or only a few? Should buying an integrated policy be beneficial or an individual one is some of the questions that could be answered via Robo-Advisory Services.
Policies via Sensors, Detectors, and Telematics
Sensors, Detectors connected via the internet could send early signals of smoke/radiations to the rescue services, helping in minimizing the damages. Also, Telematics like monitoring automobile speed, the behavior of a rash driver could assist in making a clear judgment of claim policies for individuals and insurance firm. Hence while IoTs and interconnected network could be a boom in offering customized policies, these minuscule are taking insurance services to the next step.
The Future of InsurTech
Could technologies like Blockchain, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality change the world sees insurance sector? Would they bring in the exotic flavors of policies? Only time can tell, for now, let’s explore how these technologies could be handy in insurance sector?
A distributed ledger technology has the potential to ease out fraud detection and risk prevention as per a report from EY. The report also highlights that blockchain is efficient in establishing transparent and customer focussed claims building trust and loyalty for the insurance firms.
Augmented or Virtual Reality
Just imagine driving in stormy weather, an AR app helps you define the road/lane border so that you do not bombard a tree or a car in your parallel path. Or how about a 3D modeling and simulations help customers in making insurance claims easier and faster? Or how about before you go for the home insurance a simulation helps you pinpoint all the areas under insurance rather than reading the lengthy document? It all is a possibility with AR and VR technologies.
With the evolution of technologies, the secret is to be adaptable to change. @Mantra Labs we believe in this, and hence one of our esteemed clients Religare is using our InsurTech solutions in Post-sale, pre-claim, post-claim and renewal processes. It helps in providing customers with transparent and intuitive services that is robust and secured for businesses. A win-win for all.
The healthcare industry took the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic from the very beginning. It was, and still is, a humongous task for hospitals to deal with the rising number of COVID patients as well as handling the regular consults.
To delve deeper into the state of healthcare in the COVID times, we interviewed Parag Sharma, CEO, Mantra Labs Pvt Ltd. Parag shares his insights on how technology can help in delivering digital-first health experiences for patient care in the New Normal.
Parag is a product enthusiast and tinkerer at heart and has been at the forefront of developing innovative products especially in the field of AI. He also holds over ten years of experience working in the services line and has been instrumental in launching several startups in the Internet & Mobile space. His rich domain expertise and innovative leadership have helped Mantra climb to the top 100 innovative InsurTechs in the World – selected by FinTech Global.
COVID-19 and Its impact on Healthcare Organizations
Considering the COVID situation, according to you how has COVID-19 impacted the IT & service operations among healthcare organizations?
Parag: Since the onset of COVID-19, the healthcare sector has been deeply impacted. Institutions are facing a serious crunch in manpower. IT support systems which were usually manned and managed by a large team of IT professionals are not available in the same strength. ‘Resource allocation’ is one of the biggest concerns due to physical and mental exhaustion of the healthcare workforce.
Hospitals are facing issues such as operational disruption due to staff quarantine, supply-chain delays and sudden decline in patient footfalls, difficulty in sustaining fixed costs, etc. People are not comfortable getting out of the safety confinements of their homes due to the rising risk of getting infected with the virus. Hospitals will have to reassess their future strategy and budgets in light of the uncertain economic situation.
Preparing for the Future
What can hospitals do to ensure the continuity of their customer-facing operations in the wake of a second Pandemic wave?
Parag: There are many things that hospitals can do to manage themselves in this hour of crisis. Being more digital than what they are would be one step forward for all of them. They can bring their IT systems to the cloud so that the person can access data and manage their work remotely. They can enable their patients to book appointments and enquire about services through apps and chatbots which won’t require them to call the reception or come to the hospital. These are some of the services which hospitals can provide to their customers with minimum physical contact.
Hospitals can extend Telehealth services to their patients. Recently, telehealth has proved to be useful especially when there is asymmetry between the number of patients and healthcare providers. I think it will be very useful for healthcare institutions to deploy telehealth solutions to provide medical facilities to people who have so far been outside the benefits of healthcare.
New Expectations in Health Experiences
Is consumer behavior defined by the ‘new normal’ going to change the way we access healthcare from this point on?
Parag: Yes, people will expect a completely different way to access healthcare services from now on. Hospitals should gear-up and rise to this occasion. The pandemic has also provided a new opportunity to adopt a completely different approach in the way healthcare is delivered. They always felt that medical care cannot be provided remotely but now this is happening and people are appreciating remote healthcare services. Hospitals and healthcare institutions are convinced that telehealth and remote care will be more successful soon.
Technology in Healthcare can Bridge Operational Gaps
What are the operational challenges, as far as digital capabilities go, that hospitals are facing currently? And, what steps must they take to bridge these gaps?
Parag: Operational challenges are not just digital challenges. But a lot of these challenges can be addressed with technology. For example, Electronic Health Records which hospitals manage within the premises can be moved to the cloud so that the person can access these records on the cloud itself and need not come to the hospital.
Secondly, if you deploy telehealth and telemedicine solutions, irrespective of where your patients are or doctors are, hospitals can deliver the required care to its patients. You can even extend your diagnostics services to your patients by giving them an application through which they can seamlessly book appointments for consults, diagnostics, or pathological services and resolve their queries, etc. Simply by giving a seamless interface either through bots or applications can go a long way in providing better health experiences to the customers.
Role of Chatbots in Superior Customer Experiences
According to you, what role does chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence have in the Healthcare CX landscape?
Parag: Chatbots are the simplest example of the implementation of AI-based technology in healthcare. There are a lot of things which bots can do simplistically. For example, if a patient wants to book an appointment with the doctors, instead of going through a complex web applications and interfaces, what if I can simply write “I want to book an appointment with the doctor Dr. XYZ at 4 pm” and the bot can figure out in case the time slot is available with that particular doctor, it will confirm the appointment followed by a payment process if the payment has to be made upfront.
Apart from this, you can extend your bots to provide e-consultations where doctors can do remote consultations via audio and video features of a chatbot. So there is a huge scope for bots beyond answering routine queries by customers or booking appointments. It does not stop just there. You can extend chatbot functionalities to support functions such as admin, HR, finance, and business process efficiency so that they can provide better services to their customers.
Could you tell us some possible bot use cases for delivering better customer experiences to digital health users?
Parag: Apart from booking appointments and resolving customer queries, these bots can conduct remote consultations, internal processes, health symptom checker, out-patient video consultation, second opinion consultation, ordering medicines, psychological counseling & mental wellness, scenario-based risk advice, Heroism Recognition for employees, etc. Also, it can be further extended to help patients enquire about health insurance related queries, and all the interactions between insurance companies and hospitals can be provided to the patient.
COVID-19 has forced hospitals to revise patient support strategy with limited operational staff that is bringing every day a new challenge. A way out is to heavily rely on digital innovation.
In India we have a disparity between the no. of healthcare providers and care seekers. Without technology, I don’t think there is any way healthcare institutions will be able to scale to a level where they can provide meaningful services to such a large number of people. Hospitals can invest in setting up an information exchange; making the process as seamless as possible; and removing all possible inefficiencies from the supply chain through technology.
Future growth for hospitals will come from digital technology because patients will opt more for digital platforms. And it is up to hospitals to catch up with the pace at which modern technology is developing. We, at Mantra Labs, have achieved several use cases including hospitals/diagnostic centers that are able to deliver superior health experiences.
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