The Cloud Is Revolutionizing The Insurance Industry
Over the past decade, the cloud has rapidly become one of the most integral technologies in modern society. Both for private consumers and business purposes, the cloud has offered a range of benefits, from convenient access to data to cost-savings in hardware reduction.
The cloud has changed the nature of IT, and business as a whole. That’s why so many businesses are moving to the cloud – including those operating in the insurance industry. Have you harnessed what it has to offer?
What Is The Cloud?
The cloud is a network of technologies that allows access to computing resources, such as storage, processing power, and more.
A key consideration you have to make is whether you go public or private:
- Public Cloud: Ideal for small businesses that may have trouble budgeting for any other type of cloud deployment, a public cloud is simple and cost-effective. Your data is stored in a “communal” data center, which, while not offering the best possible security or compliance guarantees, is often sufficient enough for organizations that aren’t required to maintain regulated compliance.
- Private Cloud: A secure, dedicated environment to ensure maximum performance, security, and functionality for your business applications and employees. This is usually deployed for complaint-driven businesses.
How Do Cloud Services Work?
- SaaS (Software as a Service): Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are being adopted at a much faster pace today than in the past. These are productivity applications like Microsoft Office 365, cloud-based management solutions, accounting programs, and more.Your SaaS provider helps you identify and select line of business applications that will run well in the cloud. They can migrate your data and integrate it with software platforms in your current premise or cloud technology stack, or help you implement new ones.
- PaaS (Platform as a Service): This is whole cloth delivery of web applications that are based in the cloud, all via a comprehensive platform. The idea is that, in accessing this platform, you can utilize, develop and even deliver applications based on resources that you don’t need to maintain on-site.
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service): Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) delivers IT infrastructure on an outsourced basis and provides hardware, storage, servers, data center space, and software if needed. It’s used on-demand, rather than requiring you to purchase their own equipment. That means you don’t have to expend the capital to invest in new hardware.
What Does The Cloud Offer All Businesses?
- Computing Power: The cloud has the ability to activate tens of thousands of CPUs. This unparalleled power can quickly perform deep analytics of your data, and process nearly any ad-hoc queries that you require.
- Reliable Costs: The cloud services subscription model offers the strategic advantage of low-cost, low-risk opt-in combined with a simple, predictable monthly fee.
- Easy Scalability: Cloud services have the unique strategic characteristic of being able to stretch or shrink to suit your current level of demand. This is especially useful for businesses of scale or companies that go through seasons of activity.
- Real-Time Collaboration: With cloud technology, your staff doesn’t have to wait for each other to be done with their part of the document or project in order to tackle their own aspect. They can all work on the same project at the same time to maximize productivity.
- Remote Work Capability: This cloud feature allows you and your employees to work remotely as need be, which will give your business members the flexibility they desire to have a more balanced home/work life.
What 4 Benefits Does The Cloud Offer Insurance Agencies?
- Create A Seamless Network: The cloud helps users connect, on multiple levels that apply to the insurance industry. The cloud helps your team collaborate on tasks like underwriting, product development, claims adjustment, or back-office fulfillment. It will also better connect you with the many adjacent organizations you rely on – telcos, post offices and retail locations that need to connect current and new customers with you.
- Say Goodbye To Legacy Software: Are you still using the same old line of business software that you’ve been using for years and years? As dependable as it may be (and let’s be honest, mileage varies) at some point, it’ll be too old to support your work in a modern business world.The cloud can help with this as well – new centralized project management platforms bring everyone together in one intuitive cloud location. Now, instead of needing to be trained on unintuitive, outdated software, your entire team can make use of a modern, user-friendly cloud platform that easily accessible.
- Store & Access Vital Data: This is a core benefit of all cloud deployments – store your applications and data in the cloud so you can keep it safe, and access it from where and where you need to.By moving your vital data to the cloud, you can enhance your security, increase data accessibility for staff members and lower costs. Instead of storing onsite, you can reduce costly local hardware by storing your files in the cloud, where they’ll be safe and easily accessible by you and your staff.
- Harness Data Analytics : Storing your data in a single location allows you to put it to use as well. Data analytics solutions allow you to examine data collected such as department productivity, overall growth, sales trends, and customer behavior.Reporting and querying software extracts, sorts, summarizes, and presents selected data. This data could range from sale reports of specific items to a measurement of the efficiency of marketing plans.
The Cloud & Claims First Notice of Loss?
Claims First Notice of Loss (FNOL) is too important to overlook. As the single point of interaction between you and your customers after they’ve purchased a policy, you need to make sure their expectations are met. Failure to do so can quickly have a negative effect on your customer retention.
What does effective FNOL require?
- High availability for your call centers and agency systems.
- Easy-to-access and intuitive customer self-service portals, and other channels for loss reporting.
In other words, your customers need to be able to reach you conveniently, in the way they prefer. The cloud can help you achieve that level of availability and high quality of user experience.
Many cloud service providers are now offering Claim Components solutions via SaaS models, allowing agencies like yours to deploy call center and/ or customer self-service reporting. By moving your FNOL processes into the cloud, you harness all of its associated benefits of high-availability, convenient access, and intuitive user experience.
Six Steps To Help Navigate Your Cloud Journey
Migration can be a time-consuming process, but there are very few risks if it is approached with the right plan. If you’re considering migrating independently, you should follow these six steps:
- Take An Inventory: Do you plan on moving completely to the cloud, or maintaining a hybrid environment?Some businesses don’t both to migrate all their server-side architecture to the cloud – regardless of whether you do or not, you have to take stock of your servers, and associated software, to ensure it is all compatible with the new cloud environment you are planning.
- Plan Your Project Carefully: Be sure to specifically lay out how you plan to virtualize your back end. This will largely depend on your size…
- Small businesses – It would make sense to leave certain aspects like email and apps on-site, especially if they don’t require too much storage.
- Larger businesses – For your line of business apps and dozens of accounts associated with your email client, you can likely afford the cloud storage needed to host these aspects offsite.
- Determine Your Budget: The best way to figure out which cloud service you want to go with is to know how much you can spend. The price tag will help you sort out options.And don’t worry, a small budget won’t limit your options too much. A key benefit of the cloud is its scalability. In most cases, you can start small on a great cloud service, and scale-up and pay more later as you need it.
Be sure to keep this scalability in mind from the start – do you anticipate needing to scale up by a considerable degree, within a year at the soonest? Make sure your cloud service of choice can handle where your business will be in five years.
- Consider Your Security: Depending on the industry in which you operate, you may have more pressing security concerns than other businesses.In order to maintain data security, or even to comply with certain regulations, you may need to keep some of your data on-site.
Keep this priority in mind when determining whether you need a hybrid cloud environment or not. With a combination of onsite storage for secure data and a cloud platform for everything else, you can get the best of both worlds.
- Review & Refine Your Plan: Migration is an ongoing process. Make sure that, with every step you take, you’re reviewing your plan, checking your progress towards goals, and making sure you’re staying on track.
- Ask For Help If You Need It: There’s no shame in needing help. Especially when it’s a matter of migrating all your apps, data and other IT assets to a totally new environment.However, if you have the time, knowledge and skills to handle it on your own, that will certainly be more cost-effective. But don’t forget – better safe (and a little more expensive) than sorry.
Should You Be Using The Cloud?
The cloud is so fundamental a part of the modern business world that you need to be making use of it.
If you’re not already using the cloud for file sharing and storage, then you’re way behind the times. But if you’re also failing to take advantage of the industry-specific features the cloud can deliver, then you’re missing out.
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