Technology and Innovation – ensuring an excellent future for the insurance industry

​ The prospects of the insurance business in Colombia and the world in general for 2016 and the  years to come, are based on a  number of challenges facing today´s companies in their ability to draw up innovative strategies to address current market needs. According to the Council of the Global Agenda on the Future of Insurance and Asset Management, which was present at the World Economic Forum held from January 20th to 23rd in Davos, Switzerland, the insurance industry "is facing a rapidly evolving business environment and a landscape of increasingly uncertain risks. Prolonged low returns are exerting pressure on investment returns, while aging demographics and more frequent catastrophic events driven by climate change, political instability and terrorism, are reshaping the global landscape of risk ". Nevertheless, Innovation and Communication Technologies, ICT, now play a key role in the work of insurance companies because these are the tools to use if you want to have a significant impact on such a conventional business as insurance.  ​ Employing current technologies represents both an opportunity as well as a competitive advantage insofar as organizations are able to deliver their products and services so much more swiftly and efficiently with the consequent benefits for their decision-making processes. As for innovation, the challenge here is to be able provide new affordable solutions that meet people´s specific needs, offering more flexible polices, low-cost premiums, products that make insurance all the more tangible and wording policies in a straightforward fashion for greater understanding. And it is with this aim of addressing the challenges of innovation and technology that the SURA DIGITAL strategy came into being.   Fabian Alvarez Rebage, Manager of SURA Digital and Large-Scale Channels, tells us what this strategy is all about and how it benefits Suramericana S.A.   Why has the Company created this new SURA Digital Department? "SURA Digital came into being given the fact that users are now interacting so much more with different media. Today we have seen a transformation in consumer patterns with clients preferring to self-manage their accounts. This is mainly true with the younger generations who have a different way of relating to organizations."   What is your value proposition? "One of our goals is to introduce the Company's entire value proposal to the digital world. This means that all those issues relating to attracting new clients, devising new content, generating greater awareness, providing our client care and sales as well as risk management and after sales services together with the way we build our relationships are present in the digital ecosystem.​   To whom is SURA Digital particularly relevant? "So far we have observed that, although two people may be of the same age, they could well have very different consumer patterns so we have been careful not to focus solely on age-based segments but rather those who are technological savvy, regardless of their age".   Does this new Department represent a real competitive advantage or is it a product of market standardization? "The fact that a Company is focusing on the digital world is nothing new, however, insurance companies and other industries have to because of how consumers have changed. With regard to the Colombian insurance business, I think that SURA Digital has played a pioneering role in terms of how it relates to e-commerce. Today we are offering five digital solutions: motorcycle insurance, car insurance and mandatory road insurance plus we are now issuing quotes for bicycle insurance and another brand new solution called Protected Credit Plan ".   What have been the main barriers encountered so far? "The most important barrier of all is being able to clearly communicate with our clients and other stakeholders, that is to say, how we shall be able to sell insurance using digital tools such as comparative analysis, infographics, videos and testimonials, without having to have a person in front of the client all the time".   What are the goals for this year?​ "We have several goals set for this year but maybe the most important one for me is to be able to deliver digital services and solutions to our clients that really enhance their experience with the brand and create long-term relationships. This means that not only must we be able to attract new customers to our digital proposal, but also maintain contact in this context throughout our clients´ entire life cycles. It is also important to note that another goal that SURA Digital is focusing on has to do with building digital capabilities within the Company and its channels. An example of this is SURA Digital's Help Desk, dedicated to introducing the value proposal on the part of our client care staff to the digital world.​