The wave of technological progress has affected every single industrial sector in the world. The employee benefits space has not been immune to the digital advancement in the insurance industry. Much like employees in other sectors, benefits brokers and carriers continue to struggle with isolated systems and data, which make collaboration difficult and overall challenging.
An integral problem that brokers and carriers face when they work with each other is that their communication is entirely based on emails, PDF documents, Excel files, phone calls, and text messages. This is not because these two bodies didn’t use technology; they both use numerable systems. But those pieces of technology are very isolated from each other. There is no common system that allows for these two entities to work alongside and collaborate more profoundly with each other as a result.
We must solve those core manual processing technicalities and allow for the two parties to have a shared system, which is a big deal now in insurance. Carriers and companies are trying to integrate all their data so all the systems can be in sync with each other.
Interoperability is crucial in unraveling the different systems and data troves in the insurance world. The industry has grown and invested greatly in upgrading legacy systems over the past few years, but the next level of digital transformation should focus on integration.
The employee benefits space has seen a new beginning of a technological shift that occurs at a certain point in the benefits brokering process. It may be seen as the ‘post-sale decision’, which is after an employer decides what benefits they want to offer their personnel. Companies that offer such benefits, such as benefit administration systems, enrolment firms, and payroll companies have been the reason of the advancement in the industry.
The technological innovation in the benefits space also provides awareness of the shifting relationship between employers and employees. Agile processes allow benefits brokers and carriers to see trends develop in real-time, allowing them to adapt and respond to clients’ needs.
One of the things observed is the generational shift in the labor force. We can see employers have different thoughts about how to provide employee benefits, based on the products they seek from their benefits brokers. We’re seeing a real movement towards self-funding on the medical side, for example, and that helps push things forward as employers rethink their benefits structure.
It leads to more thoughtful interaction in the market, which is helping to advance technology further. It’s interesting to watch the market course correctly in real-time. Aside from these real-time market insights, shared systems can help reduce manual tasks, slash errors, and empower better decision-making. The next wave of technological innovation will be focused on interoperability. Carriers must understand that if they don’t make the investment now, they are at risk of being left behind.