A healthy diet for banks and insurers

The technology discussion is a constant conversation in boardrooms. Organisations that lag behind in tech adoption risk losing customers and market share.

But when banks and insurers talk technology, there’s an added layer of complexity in the conversation: regulation. Many other industries don’t appreciate the challenges this produces on top of the usual competitive pressures and daily obstacles of running a large business efficiently. And let’s not forget about the added challenges of frequent, rapid change in the financial services industry, or the constant encroachment of newcomers to the market.

To remain competitive, banks and insurers must become fit and agile. You can’t be weighed down by the old ways of doing things and costly, outdated legacy systems. Instead, you have to watch your diet and make choices to support long-term operational health. It can be a daily battle, but some are breaking through and winning with a well-balanced diet of intelligent automation.

The battle of the bulge between old and new

There’s a saying that the grass is always greener on the other side. Customers of traditional banks and insurers have, unfortunately, migrated to new pastures, tempted by flashy new brands and services.

While it’s true these new services are more attractive and easier to use, the interlopers may not be as complete as a well-established financial services behemoth. If all the customer needs is something simple, fast and good enough, then the decision is very easy to make. But that’s not always the case – which leaves the door open for traditional providers to stay in the fight.

It’s actually good to have this new competition in the industry because it moves everyone forward. Old and new alike need to maintain their advances to stay in business.

So how does an institution over a century old (as many are in banking and insurance) get match fit to compete with the newbies? And how do newbies scale from their homegrown systems into the next generation of financial superstars? Increasingly, it’s intelligent automation. 

A healthy diet of intelligent automation

Financial and insurance services have been undergoing digital transformation in recent years, and that pace is accelerating as intelligent automation emerges as the technological driving force for modernisation. 

In 2022, banks will strive to achieve decision intelligence, using technology to make better choices. This requires banks to leverage internal and external data efficiently with automation, AI and analytics. Insurers are also increasing their focus on automation, combining robotic process automation (RPA) with advances like machine learning to automate processes and respond faster to change.

Intelligent automation is like a superfood, providing nutrient-dense technologies and intuitive tools for the general workforce, and not just the health nuts. Most companies have many elements of the intelligent automation dietary regimen already in place. For instance, most have digitised documents. But to what level and does it include every inbound communication (invoices, hand-written letters, emails, and real-time interactions)? 

Remaining competitive can be a daily battle, but some are breaking through and winning with a well-balanced diet of intelligent automation

Once digitised, how slick is the process that follows? Are on-boarding, anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) checks, claims handling, and all the processes uniquely regulated in financial services and insurance automated to the maximum extent possible? Are your people shuffling papers around in low-value activities or are they adding value to top and bottom lines?

An agenda item for any forward-thinking board should be to examine the degree of straight-through processing being achieved. By automating the low-value and routine work, you free up employees to tackle the more complex issues of improving customer service and retention, reducing fraud, and so on.

It may seem like you’re a long way from your ideal weight, but the nice thing is you can do it in healthy, bite-sized chunks. In fact, intelligent automation projects that tackle tactical issues in a strategic framework are certainly de rigueur. And unlike a fad diet, this approach works.

Common processes to attack are document-heavy and come from a short list:


    • Identity and verification checks
    • Onboarding
    • Claims processing
    • AML and KYC checks
    • Underwriting

For the best results, make sure you select the right technology for ingestion and data extraction. Too many view this as optical character recognition (OCR) and fail when document quality is an issue or formats change. An integrated platform that provides a comprehensive suite of automation technologies makes it easier to expand and scale automation. A low-code tool lets everyone contribute to your long-term fitness goals and improves agility. Solutions based in the cloud are also on the rise, releasing businesses from the overhead of managing infrastructure and version control. 

It’s also important to create a culture that supports the value of automating. When your workforce is on board and equipped with the right tools, the results can be quite impressive.

Whether you’re a historical industry giant or a usurping newcomer, the advance of automation is massively relevant to your future success. Intelligent automation gets banks and insurers to their fighting weight for long-term agility and health. Are you ready to get fit?

Jim Close is Regional Vice President UK&I at Kofax, an intelligent automation software platform that allows customers to digitally transform information-intensive business workflows.

Jim has assembled a team of world-leading account executives who have transformed and grown the UK business significantly over recent years.



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