The Power of Technology & Co-Creation 27th May 2020Co-creation plays a massive role in the technology agenda at Probitas 1492. Like with everything the syndicate does, it’s a team effort with input from experts in their fields to create an initial minimum viable product. But, there’s a step before that, which is the fuel to the power, as Ed Anderson – Software Architect tells us: Whilst the theory of good business practice often tells us to focus on a niche, that is not the case with technology projects. The more laser-focused you are, the less likely you are to succeed. The true power of technology lies in solving real-world problems. To do this we need to consider all aspects of the end-user’s interactions with the Company, its services and products. So how do we design for the needs of our users? As more and more of our daily business interactions are conducted online, it’s more critical than ever to offer a streamlined, frictionless digital experience. From their daily lives, business users are bringing to the workplace expectations of optimised user experience as a minimum requirement. Consequently, this must be a pre-requisite across all technology projects. At Probitas, our framework for decision making is much broader than other insurers. For most insurers, user experience is at most about the interface and visual design. By contrast, we conduct field-research, face-to-face interviews, prototyping, information architecture assessments and much more. What does this mean in practice? Through establishing an evidence based research approach, we are able to move beyond just core-functionality and reliability to meeting a much broader hierarchy of user needs. This approach gives us focus and helps avoid featuritis, the plethora of poorly understood and unhelpful functionalities which plague technology projects in insurance. We establish a minimum desirable product (MDP) which incorporates the problems and solutions for three different perspectives – the business, the customer and the known technology solutions. By bringing together all three at the initial concept discussion, we’re able to start to create a solution that addresses real problems and adds value. All too often, technology has been used to solve a problem that wasn’t really there in the first place. Or, an issue that is important to the business but has little to no impact on the customer experience. We know that at times, what is a ‘great’ solution to a business problem can actually be more of a hindrance for the customer. When it comes to what’s ‘great’ for the business, it is often providing efficiencies; reducing time to complete tasks, eliminating double keying, speeding up data processing, the list goes on. It’s important that any technology we implement integrates with our systems to ensure that it’s providing a purposeful solution. The general feeling is that we want it to influence our expense ratio, portfolio loss ratio and of course, our bottom line. But, what brokers and consumers want is something different altogether.For the insured, they just want to be able to purchase the right level of cover, at the right price and do so as smoothly as possible. For the broker, they want to be able to increase their reach in respect of customer base, speed up the time taken to acquire new customers and ultimately place the risk as quickly and efficiently as possible. Which is where co-creation comes into its own. Working in partnership with brokers who specialise in a product or an industry, often currently ill-served, or where they have carved out a niche enables us to layer up solutions. Using knowledge from outside of our syndicate enables us to design collaborative technology that allows for better underwriting and better service to the insured. Through co-creation, transparency increases, the network strengthens, and we’re able to have constructive conversations around pricing and product to find the right balance for all. Where some books of business are transaction heavy, we can work together to find efficient ways to work—adding the human intelligence that is often required to facilitate excellent standards of business via platforms. Delivering our algorithms, our documentation and our solution into the hands of the broker. But, a vital question, is, are brokers willing to build sustainable relationships to collaborate? Are they looking to co-create and invest time and effort into powerful tech solutions that deliver? Or, are they just looking for a temporary place to off-load their book for business for this year, only to pick it all up and move it again next year to save a few pennies on the dollar? We spend a lot of time talking to brokers to ensure that any tech solution we want to deploy will be well received, be of benefit to them and their book of business. We want to create a new norm for them, to deliver a big bang for their buck. And, we can’t do that if they are not equally as invested in the solution.Being a nimble, modern syndicate gives us an advantage. We’re able to design, build and deploy quickly and even better than others who have legacy systems and more internal bureaucracy. We have a culture at Probitas 1492, which encourages us to deliver solutions to our broker partners and their clients. We’ve been building our own technology platforms that deliver. We do so with a lot of thought but also mindful of delivering an MDP that can be put to use, tested and adapted. We’re not always striving for the perfect finished product – that can come later.