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To Help Serve Customers, QBE is Taking a Less Traveled Road to Digital Transformation

By Greg Puleo, Vice President of Business Process Reengineering, and Vinay Kurup, Vice President and Head of Technology

Like many companies, as digital technologies like machine learning and robotics processing automation became available, we were determined to invest in these remarkable tools to meet the needs of the people and businesses we serve. To ensure the right outcomes, we decided to take a measured approach.

While it’s tempting to quickly implement the coolest new technologies, we took the road less traveled to ensure our innovation would make an impact.

Our journey began with grounding the business process reengineering and technology teams around specific goals. A key objective was to liberate specialists in underwriting, claims and other functions from mundane repetitive tasks to put their creativity and intellects to more value-added customer purposes. We also wanted to ensure the solutions tied into our future state technology roadmap, delivering a positive ROI and enhanced customer value.

Step by Step

The use of a technology roadmap aligned with our approach to implementing technology solutions for specific purposes and needs. This flexible planning technique supported our strategic and long-range plans, by matching desired outcomes with specific technology solutions, as opposed to the other way around, the approach taken by other insurers.

As a high-level document, the roadmap articulated not just the `why’ behind our strategic thinking, but the route to get there—how all the pieces would fit to ensure we were always on the right path in what was essentially an uncharted journey.

To assist this objective, we sought out a vendor partner with expertise and experience in technology solutions like RPA (robotic process automation) and RDA (robotic desktop automation), ultimately choosing Pegasystems, whose desktop automation, straight-through processing and case management capabilities aligned best with our objectives. 

The next stages of the journey included conducting an organizational assessment to discern where the RDA and/or RPA solutions could provide the most immediate returns, insofar as process enhancements and customer value, followed by how to quickly deploy the solutions to achieve these aims.

In these determinations, we hewed closely to an Agile methodology, describing to end users not just how to use the tool but also the problems it will solve. This, too, stood in contrast to the approach of other insurers that had elevated technology over people, failing to appreciate how they work and collaborate. From the outset, we had decided not to automate processes purely for the sake of automation.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

At this stage of the journey, all signs point to a successful voyage. We recently automated customer renewal quotes, binding and policy issuance processes using RDA for aviation general liability insurance. This Aviation Renewal Quote Bot, as we call it, was designed to provide faster and more accurate general liability renewal quotes to our current aviation clients. Underwriters use the bot to import lists of airplanes and associated details to create a renewal quote in near-real time.

By automatically developing the premium quote, the bot replaces the prior manual process, which was prone to error in executing the policy renewal. In turn, this decreases the vacillating interactions between client risk managers and our to ensure accuracy, while freeing them to focus on activities strengthening client relationships.

Highly pleased with the results, we migrated toward the development and implementation of a mortgagee address chance RDA solution in personal lines. The bot received PDF information from lenders and instantly updates internal systems with this data, dramatically reducing the time to process these requests. This faster resolution for both our customers and agent/broker partners helps reduce the amount of work conducted by our employees.

Lastly, we recently developed and implemented an RDA solution that captures all customer call center data and provides these details to our agent/broker partners, again reducing the effort this process previously involved. As of this writing, we are beginning to implement RPA solutions, taking the same thoughtful approach.

None of this is particularly earth-shattering, but it points to the need for clear headedness when contemplating an investment as important as digital transformation. The end game is clear, but how an insurer makes this journey takes creativity, patience and trial and real-life experience before the rewards are reaped.