How did it happen that ASC, a software company, upgraded its portfolio with innovation workshops service?
We’ve cut our teeth on software through many years for companies like AXA, Allianz, Credit Agricole or BNP. We’ve also advised several greenfield insurers to start up their operations, like Credit Agricole Insurance, Polish Post Life Insurer or a local Polish fin-tech assistance operator. Our consulting department advised on a number of projects on the brink of business and technology. One of the latest concerned a strategy for IT migration into cloud – supplied with a proof of concept for a chosen solution. Based on these experiences, we developed a unique analysis methodology (read more at: http://agileanalysis.asc.altkom.pl/) which has permanently included into an opening part of every project we begin with our Clients. On top of that we’ve figured out the software only supports business – and the greatest potential for both sides lies in innovation. As we’ve become versatile experts in the field of software, we usually look for innovations in insurance products or processes that are backed by the software. And what is our value added – the innovations that we create are really quickly implementable, with RoI from 6 to 12 months.
In your opinion, how insurance companies can become innovative?
Innovation’ is a term very fashionable and, in my opinion, misunderstood nowadays. Insurers seeing this trend often establish “Innovation Departments”. We are always amused noting how companies institute a director responsible for innovations. Yet this approach is not effective. If you want to be innovative you should stop doing innovation. Much better is to innovate in what you do. We take things around as they are – and try to manipulate them, so they can be used in different ways. The same applies to people. You should use your current staff, not a dedicated inventor-person. Innovations we create can be implemented really easily, because they are based on things, processes, standards or resources that are actually available in the surroundings. Only their purpose or a form slightly differs. Our methodology – AIM (read more at: http://aim.asc.altkom.pl/) – is based on the assumption not to invent new things, but to use the ones that has already been created instead. We went through that road with some insurers and effects of our workshops were really impressive. We cannot say publicly about most of them, but, except the ideas created with our insurance partnering companies, we have developed some concepts on our own, and I will tell a few words about them in the Fleming’s Sales and Marketing conference.
You’ve mentioned that ASC works on the brink of business and technology and your innovations are backed by IT. What does it mean?
A great example I can use here is our core insurance system – Altkom White Label (read more at: http://whitelabel.asc.altkom.pl/)This solution can exist alongside the current IT infrastructure or serve as a completely independent system for selling and handling non-standard insurance products. It has been implemented in Polish Post Insurer, where it is used as the only core system for life and non-life products. White Label was written to be used as a kind of a workbench for insurers; an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) toolset for testing products at the lowest possible cost. If a new insurance product should be tested live, in the real world, it has to be maintained for at least a year, regardless of whether it was a successful experiment or not. Understandably it’s not easy to invest a lump sum to adapt current systems to products that will mostly disappear. One of the major intensions of developing White Label was to allow really cheap experimenting – which is our understanding of how to build MVP focusing on V. Not a ”minimum product”, but mostly viable! That’s why Altkom White Label is equipped with a set of configurators for business users, who can parameterize e.g. product definitions and tariffs via Excel file. All those mechanisms were designed to shorten as possible TTM for new products. Make up, click and launch – day-to-day. And then do not worry, you don’t have to develop anything, because back-office core will handle such a product on a basis of the same definition. This has already worked out for our two Clients and is being implemented in the third.
It sounds nice, but taking into consideration a theme of our conference, how exactly can your system support bancassurance and insurance sales?
It's a very broad subject, so I’ll focus on one feature only, though there are more. White Label sales front-end is designed to function independently from the core part. They are not welded in any way. We have adopted a concept that we call Open Business Architecture. It means that on the front you can compare – multicalculate, as we call it, and sell products that are bundled of risks from different insurers. This approach ensures that the customer always stays with the one who sold the product to him. Even if this product was branded with a different company logo. In other words it is very probable that, knowing that seller has a wide range of options, the customer will be loyal to the seller and, will stay with him in the next years renewing policies. This whole mechanism is based on the people’s need to have a choice that a mono-brand insurer cannot provide. And please bear in mind, this was just one example of non-standard approach that White Label facilitates.
I hope to hear more at the Bancassurance Forum on 13-14th February in Berlin. Thank you for your time!
It was my pleasure.