Instabase’s own Bastiaan de Goei recently sat down with Sam Bagnall, Commercial Transformation Director at AXA UK, to discuss commercial insurance submission and how AXA UK is transforming its submission process.
Could you describe your role at AXA UK?
I’ve worked in financial services for a very long time, mainly in the transformation space. Initially, I worked in banking and then moved over to insurance. When the insurance sector started to run major transformations, I joined AXA UK to help with its commercial transformation — looking at people, processes, and technology to improve the customer journey and create the AXA Commercial experience of the future.
Focusing on commercial lines, what is going on in that sector to make automation and transformation so pertinent right now?
Commercial insurance is still very manual and paper-based. At AXA UK, we’re automating processes to allow underwriters to focus less on administrative tasks and rekeying data and, instead, bring their expert judgment to the table to make underwriting decisions. We’re looking at the process from end to end, to speed up the flow and look at tools we can use to take that manual workload away from the frontline.
The industry has been fairly manual and paper-based for many years. Why do you want to address this now?
There is now greater availability of automation tools that present an opportunity to move things forward in this space. There is also heightened awareness of governance and compliance. Regulatory requirements around GDPR and the need to manage data more effectively can be handled better with automation tools than with paper.
We also have the opportunity to improve how we mine our data so we can continue to improve risk management and pricing for our customers.
If you Google “AI” or “IDP,” you come across hundreds of providers and players. How did you go about orienting yourself in this space to find the right partners?
We started by working out what we wanted and focusing on a single use case – commercial insurance submissions. We have a number of sources of data that come in as the underwriting journey begins, such as broker emails, broker presentations, Excel spreadsheets, and Word documents. Underwriters spend a significant portion of their workday reading and extracting the data, so that was the part of the process on which we focused. How could we free up that time for underwriters and automate the process? By automating it, how could we improve data validation and data quality?
Those questions led us to a review of the available tools both within AXA Group and in the market, and subsequently into a formal RFP process. We were clear that we wanted to run a proof of concept and that we needed the proof of concept to meet some very specific criteria – one of those criteria being the ability to deal with a wide range of unstructured data, which the Instabase platform does.
How is the rollout going so far?
Rollout began last year when we introduced Instabase for our Property Owners’ product. We’re monitoring results closely to ensure accuracy before rolling it out further. When you’re underwriting, data accuracy is critical as it can make a difference to the price you offer the customer. That is why our approach is phased, with rigorous testing and quality checks built in at every stage.
What’s your vision for the future? What are the next steps in the commercial transformation journey?
This is a big year for us. We’ll deploy the remainder of our products onto our workflow tool and change our policy admin system to a cloud-based tool. We’ll also continue to automate and bring structure to unstructured data across the business. The goal is to continue driving improvements to the end-to-end customer journey and to deliver the level of automation that helps our frontline colleagues focus on giving exceptional service to our broker partners and customers.
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