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Streamlining Insurance - How SaaS is Enabling Automation

(Re)thinking Insurance Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 7

June 08, 2023

In this episode, we examine the benefits that software-as-a-service (SaaS) can bring to the insurance industry and how companies can implement these technologies in order to gain maximum value.
Insurance Consulting and Technology

Across the insurance industry, many firms are increasingly looking towards software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to address issues of limited internal resource, as well as to automate and streamline their business processes.

In this episode of (Re)thinking Insurance, Ravi Sharma is joined by Kunal Patel and Scott Gibson to explore the benefits of SaaS solutions and how organizations can ensure they gain maximum value from these technologies.

Organizations need managed services because they can't do everything themselves.”

Kunal Patel | Director, Insurance Consulting and Technology

Episode 7: Streamlining Insurance - How SaaS is Enabling Automation

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About our host

Ravi Sharma

Associate Director, Insurance Consulting and Technology

Ravi is an Associate Director in the Insurance Consulting and Technology business. Based in Michigan, he has over 12 years of actuarial experience on both the carrier side and consulting side. His primary area of focus at WTW is Pricing, Product, Claims and Underwriting.


(Re)Thinking Insurance Podcast Season 3, Episode 7: Streamlining Insurance - How SaaS is Enabling Automation

KUNAL PATEL: SaaS solutions offer high-availability services with end-to-end disaster recovery built in. Which means that you don't have to rely on your IT resources, your IT people to maintain these services. They're already there, they're up and running for you, and you can focus on your core business activities whilst the provider of the solution takes care of everything else behind the scenes.

NARRATOR: You're listening to (Re)thinking Insurance, a podcast series from WTW, where we discuss the issues facing P&C, life, and composite insurers around the globe, as well as exploring the latest tools, techniques, and innovations that will help you rethink insurance.

RAVI SHARMA: Hello, and welcome to (Re)thinking Insurance. I'm your host Ravi Sharma. On today's podcast, we'll be discussing automating business processes in environments with limited resources. Joining me today, I have Kunal Patel, a Director in WTW's Insurance Consulting and Technology practice. We also have Scott Gibson, an Associate Director in WTW's Insurance Consulting and Technology practice. Welcome to both of you.

KUNAL PATEL: Hi, Ravi, thanks for having me.

SCOTT GIBSON: Great to be here as well.

RAVI SHARMA: Well, I'm happy to have you both on the show. Let's start off today by learning a little bit about our guests. Kunal, what's your favorite meal to cook?

KUNAL PATEL: I don't think I can narrow it down to one, but I enjoy cooking stir fries and a variety of Indian curries.

RAVI SHARMA: Well, that sounds delicious. And what about you, Scott?

SCOTT GIBSON: I don't know about a favorite meal, but maybe a favorite way to cook, and that would be out on the grill. You can find me grilling pretty much all year long even in the cold northeast.

RAVI SHARMA: I can relate to that. Well, now that we have our appetites whetted, let's jump into some automation. It's common for insurers to struggle with in-house IT resource limitations. They're slow to change and face difficulty implementing new programs. What type of solutions are we seeing in the marketplace to address these pain points? Kunal.

KUNAL PATEL: Yeah, sure. So I think, Ravi, industrywide, we're seeing firms move towards a managed model. And when I say managed model, I mean procuring software as a service solutions. And there's a number of reasons for this.

Software as a service gives clients the benefit of an easy-to-use solution. Users can be up and running extremely quickly regardless of scale. The services are usually managed and maintained, meaning that they get seamless updates and upgrades enabling clients to focus on their core business activity.

Their accessibility is great. Software as a service solutions can be accessed from anywhere with a secure internet connection, which enables remote work and collaboration. Something that's really prevalent since the recent pandemic and the new ways of working that we're experiencing. The other major theme is security.

Now, SaaS solutions offer high-availability services with end-to-end disaster recovery built in. Which means that you don't have to rely on your IT resources, your IT people to maintain these services. They're already there, they're up and running for you, and you can focus on your core business activities whilst the provider of the solution takes care of everything else behind the scenes.

RAVI SHARMA: Thanks for walking us through the deployment advantages of software as a service, Kunal. Scott, I want to ask you this, what kind of services are actually offered on a software as a service? It can't be a complete replacement to localized installations.

SCOTT GIBSON: A software as a service deployment, while it has all those benefits that Kunal talked about, in particular being managed and hosted, easing the IT burden, it may not be the best solution for every business process. With our deployment of Unify in a software as a service environment, we've started with service offerings that better fit that model.

The first one would be cash flow modeling, which would limit the amount of data moving back and forth between the SaaS deployment and the company's own infrastructure. Because, ultimately, when you're going back and forth between your cloud, a managed hosted cloud, you do introduce additional latency.

And so if you're moving back and forth with data, that can cause delays in your processes, which reduces some of the benefit of moving to an automated solution in general. So we're trying to be targeted in the services that we're offering in a SaaS deployment of Unify to make sure that they're appropriate for that type of infrastructure setup.

RAVI SHARMA: Thanks, Scott. One place my mind immediately jumps to here is the difference between small and large organizations. Kunal, could you maybe give us some insight as to how small insurers are utilizing this technology to compete with the resources that large insurers are investing in innovation?

KUNAL PATEL: Yeah. Sure, Ravi. So, ultimately, managed and maintain solutions give smaller companies the ability to do what the larger companies can do without the same level of resources. Now, one of the key points about moving to SaaS solutions is total cost of ownership.

This ultimately decreases over time and is cheaper than having your own on-premise resources. So this gives many small companies the outlet to utilize powerful solutions, such as Unify, with very little upfront investment in stuff like IT, people, and resources. And that's not even taking into account the scalability and the management of the solution going forward.

RAVI SHARMA: That's great from the insurer size standpoint and resources standpoint. Now, another thing that-- where my mind goes is consideration to the process requirements and implementation requirements. I know that organizations have varying degrees of requirements when it comes to the inputs and outputs that their existing infrastructure can provide. Scott, can you talk to us a little bit about how we're able to meet the needs of those different requirements?

SCOTT GIBSON: Sure, Ravi. And I think this piggybacks well on the size because the larger organizations are going to have a higher amount of requirements, a higher number of systems that you may be interacting with, and small organizations, typically, would have fewer. And so when you're thinking about a software as a service deployment, you want to think about what types of connections need to be made.

And in terms of Unify, there's a multitude of connectors available, from API connectors through various softwares that can help make those connections to the existing information systems and infrastructure of the insurer. And, of course, you get all those benefits around security, around scalability, around disaster recovery.

So you know that when you're interacting with your automation system, you're going to have high uptime, you're going to have a secure connection, you're going to have secure transmission of information in both directions. And then with that plethora of API connectivity, you're going to be able to hook it into all of your existing infrastructure and any new infrastructure that you take on as you do grow in scale as a business.

KUNAL PATEL: And to add to that, Scott, I think people need managed services because they can't do everything themselves. The IT landscape, the companies are changing globally. From software as a service deployments, not only do you get best in class services, you don't need all the back end support looking after it.

As Scott said, you get cloud support. You get web integration. You get API support. And you can get your data from place A to place B, and they're all connected. 5 to 10 years ago, this wouldn't have even been tenable.

RAVI SHARMA: I'm having flashbacks to my days at a carrier where when quarter end would come around, or month end would come around, I'd have to go and submit mainframe quote to pull data off a reel-to-reel mainframe. So yeah, I think I would have enjoyed having a solution like this back in the day.

KUNAL PATEL: And I think it's also important to mention that with our solution, we provide automatic updates on demand. Our industry is changing rapidly. The technological developments that we make are almost released on demand. So you don't have to worry about upgrading to the latest version of your software, it will be upgraded for you ready for you to use as and when you need to.

RAVI SHARMA: Well, it sounds like a powerful value proposition there. Ensuring that you have the latest and greatest without disrupting existing business processes. So in closing, if we could leave our listeners with one takeaway from today's discussion, what would it be? Scott, let's start with you.

SCOTT GIBSON: I think the main takeaway is that businesses want and need flexibility. And software as a service deployments are another way for us to provide that flexibility to our clients so that they can get the right solution that fits how their organization is structured and how they want to move forward.

RAVI SHARMA: Great. And what about you, Kunal? Anything you want to leave our listeners with?

KUNAL PATEL: Yeah. Sure. I'd say that software as a service transforms your business experience. It allows you to focus on your people. It allows you to achieve efficiency, quality, and control in a secure environment, which is managed and maintained.

RAVI SHARMA: Wonderful. Well, I want to thank you both for joining us on the podcast, and as always, I'd like to thank our listeners. Until next time, thanks for listening to (Re)thinking Insurance.

NARRATOR: Thank you for joining us for this WTW podcast featuring the latest perspectives on the intersection of people, capital, and risk. For more information, visit the Insights section of

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