Competition is fierce, consumer demand is increasing, and insurers can't afford to just sit on their valuable data. Customer communication management (CCM) is already putting data to work for insurance companies across tiers, geographies and lines of business. Forrester CCM analyst Craig Le Clair defines it as "software used to compose, format, personalize, and distribute content to support physical and electronic customer communications and improve the customer experience." The best CCM systems make it easy to integrate with policy administration or claims management systems, so that customer-specific data can flow easily and automatically into new documents of all kinds.
What Data Will Be
CCM adds a needed layer of sophistication and intelligence to the way insurers think about data and content management, pulling data of many different types from many different inputs together in a single stream. In fact, CCM is the natural next step as insurers look to incorporate a healthy dose of customer centricity into what has traditionally been a slow, rigid process punctuated by regularly-mailed monthly statements, form letters, and batch billing.
With CCM, insurers have a greater ability to create more personalized, customer-specific documents and build workflows that streamline operations and enhance the overall customer experience. This ability alone, changes the face of insurance communications from a one-to-many mentality to a one-to-one reality. Further, CCM enables insurers to be proactive in the daily approach to data. Instead of waiting to react, rules can automatically drive insurer actions. Working with the core administration systems responsible for execution and oversight of critical insurance processes, CCM enhances an insurer's ability to communicate with stakeholders at any point in the process.
What Data Was
Part and parcel to the business of insurance were the names and addresses of policyholders, records of payments made, and claims paid. The industry was decades into operations before someone realized data could help predict that like people often needed like policies, and that like policies often warranted like pricing and carried like risk.
The insurers first to recognize data as an asset instead of a by-product benefited through increased business, access to the best risks, and fewer claims paid, all of which translate into a better bottom line. Over the years, insurers' treatment and use of data has evolved from manual to automatic, setting up opportunities for greater accessibility, increased standardization and improved search capabilities.
Greater automation of data also introduced operational efficiencies and helped reduce manual data entry and processing errors. The evolution toward an era of empowered data, and better CCM, was underway.
What Data Is
Types and inputs of insurance data change constantly, and insurers have steadily adapted the way they handle and use data. Early on, insurers learned to image data to eliminate paper and make it electronically available to more users. Unfortunately, imaging is a reactive process which simply takes a static data "picture" after the fact. If the goal is only to eliminate paper, imaging is all you need. But, insurers saw so much more potential in the data being captured, that additional capabilities were obviously necessary, and many began migrating to document management systems.
Document management amplified the usefulness of imaged documents by introducing the concept of electronic file foldering, and setting authority levels for access to different types of documents. Downtime looking for lost or "checked out" files was immediately reduced, and an electronic audit trail could identify all individuals who accessed any file at any time, but more functionality was still needed.
What Data Can Be
Content management expanded insurers' capabilities, and definitions, beyond "documents" to include other inputs, such as faxes, emails, phone messages, video recordings and other new forms of "content." Today, it is easier in a content management environment for insurers to get a full picture of a policyholder for customer service purposes, and to identify upsell and cross sell opportunities. Insurers can even glean new insights from data, which is no longer siloed in disparate systems, but instead aggregated in a single data repository.
The move to enterprise content management (ECM) integrates the document delivery functionality that used to exist in standalone, best-of-breed systems into the content management process. With a new ability to push information out proactively in a document generation or creation capacity, insurers now have more control over the entire content lifecycle from the initial capture and management of the data, to storage and preservation through to delivery of quotes, policy documents, invoices, claim checks, and declaration pages back out to the insured.
In conclusion, today's CCM cannot only make your documents "smarter," it can create a higher value for the data you already have by establishing streamlined processes and workflows that positively supercharge the customer experience.
About the author: Heather Dunn is marketing manager for GhostDraft.