The impacts of digital transformation on the insurance market and guaranteeing the best possible customer experience were topics discussed at FIDES Rio 2023, the largest insurance conference in the Americas and the Iberian Peninsula. In a specific panel discussion featuring industry specialists, the general assessment was that there is no going back from digitalization in insurance, but it can be done while ensuring a human touch with customers.
The speakers were Ulisses Assis, CEO of BB Seguros; David Colmenares, managing director of Allianz Commercial Latin America; Rajat Sharma, chief financial officer of eBaoTech; Alessandro Octaviani, head of the Brazilian Private Insurance Regulatory Agency (SUSEP); and Roberto Santos, CEO of Porto. The conversation was moderated by journalist Sheila Magalhães, editorial director of BandNews.
Rajat Sharma from India shared his experience of working for a company that offers digital solutions for the insurance sector worldwide. eBaoTech’s motto is “make insurance easy.” According to Sharma, this mission has already been implemented in 40 countries, including Brazil, where he said there is great potential for digital businesses. “Our mantra is what we call the three Vs: volume, velocity and variation. Digital businesses need to be anchored in high volume, rapid implementation and client customization,” he said.
Ulisses Assis presented the case of BB Seguros, which in recent years has decided to invest heavily in digitalizing its business. This initiative also included a change in product distribution (which is now also done by brokers outside the bank) and actions focused on improving the customer experience. “We couldn’t improve the customer experience without investing in digital tools. In the last three years, we’ve invested around R$1.5 billion in this transformation, doubling our investment in IT,” he said.
The results didn’t take long to appear. The company’s premium revenues went from R$3.9 billion in 2021 to R$6 billion in 2022, and in the first half of this year, sales amounted to R$3.7 billion. “Along with this work, we have been investing in analytics, because not having data is bad, but it’s even worse to have data but not know how to use it,” the CEO of BB Seguridade said, adding, “We have to digitalize without losing our human approach to customers.”
According to David Colmenares, the first thing to think about is customers and how they can study and acquire the company’s products. “We sell security and credibility. Customers have to understand that they are buying peace of mind. Technology helps, but it can be dangerous, so it must be used responsibly,” commented the Allianz director. He also said that insurance startups or “insurtechs” are industry allies, bringing agility, knowledge and innovation to insurers and customers.
In the opinion of Roberto Santos of Porto Seguro, the internet has made consumers more empowered and this has led companies to change their mindset. “For a long time, insurers built processes based on what was good for them, without taking customers into account,” he said. In his view, the term that best explains the moment the insurance market is going through is “digital evolution.” He said, “Digital solutions need to be easy, come at an appropriate speed and be viable for customers.”
Alessandro Octaviani of SUSEP highlighted Brazil’s insurance penetration rates, which are still low, describing them as one of the major regulatory challenges at the moment. Another challenge, he said, is to ensure the quality of what is sold in the insurance market. When it comes to digitalizing the sector, SUSEP believes it necessary to guarantee a digital environment for taking out insurance. According to him, this requirement will not recede in the coming years. “Inspection will move toward digital transformation, and in fact this has made it easier for SUSEP to identify problems,” he said.