Global Head of Operations from Allianz talks about automation and digital insurance

14 April 2016 —
One of the most frequent buzzwords in the insurance field is "digital". What kind of products and services will become key for the insurers? And how to adapt to the changing environment? Roy Loeschner, Global Head of Operations from Allianz, talks answers these questions and provides an overview of how the operational side of the industry is coping with the current environment.

roy_loeschnerRoy Loeschner

Global Head of Operations
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE

You will be focusing on automation within the insurance industry at the event. How would you describe the current situation when it comes to automating insurance processes?

Automation within the insurance industry is still in its infancy compared to other sectors of our economies. We are only now beginning to realise the potential for automation to deliver real, tangible transformation, optimized processes and high processing quality.

Automation absolutely offers us this potentiality. However this realisation is not one that is shared by everyone in our industry and the mindsets that have developed through time still persist when it comes to assigning the term 'complexity' to what would be regarded in many industries as fairly standard activities.

Additionally the traditional view of process enhancement and value add has been underpinned by IT development and dependency but again today's reality is that that dependency is diminishing. With automation, with robotics legacy system enhancement, system integration or time hungry systems, development and implementation are no longer on the critical path. Robotic automation sits on top of existing IT systems meaning, essentially, that the existing IT environment is enhanced without having to start from scratch with all of the pain that that brings. This challenge to traditional IT orientated problem solving is deeply ingrained in the insurance culture but even this does not represent the real challenge of the new.

In my lead off I will be focusing upon that real challenge of the new which I believe is the challenge to leadership as we begin to chart this brave new world, a new world that is different from what came before because it is determined and can described from first principles embedded in the concept of automation. The real challenge is not predicting what the future 'could' look like as technology is doing this for us, the real challenge is, what do we bring to our people as they look to the future with trepidation? What are our responsibilities to the organisation's for whom we work? What are our responsibilities to society as a whole?

What are the main challenges that the management has to face with the automation of legacy systems?

In today's aggressive insurance environment what is required are nimble organisations able to turn on a dime in order to deliver over and above customer expectation, not traditionally a strength of the industry

The management challenge is one of describing the future, what our organizations will evolve into. The ability of automation to reduce cost and maximize effectiveness from necessarily reduced headcount while simultaneously delivering the operational efficiency means that traditional drivers for management evaporate, but the cost of this is having to redesign our organizations in ways that previously would not have been thought possible. This is very difficult task indeed but not half as difficult a task of selling the benefits into our organizations not just to shareholders but to all of our stakeholders, our people.

In the general sense, how well have the companies been adapting to the trend of digital insurance? What does "going digital" imply for the way traditional insurance companies operate?

Read the full interview here.

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