Why today’s insurance companies need to be purpose-driven

09-06-2021

Why today’s insurance companies need to be purpose-driven

Yasir Andrabi, insurance strategy and solutions leader, Genpact

A clearly defined purpose that staff and clients can rally behind is a huge asset for today’s re/insurers, as Yasir Andrabi, insurance strategy and solutions leader at global professional services firm Genpact, told Intelligent Insurer.

Understanding your company’s purpose and embodying this in a guiding statement is more than just a trendy tick-box exercise. Done right, it can energise your teams and drive measurable improvements across a range of variables.

According to Deloitte, purpose-driven companies have 30 percent higher levels of innovation and 40 percent higher levels of workforce retention than their competitors. They have also been shown to have higher productivity and to outperform the financial markets by 42 percent.

Yasir Andrabi, insurance strategy and solutions leader at global professional services firm Genpact, was involved in the definition and subsequent launch of Genpact’s purpose statement: “The relentless pursuit of a world that works better for people”. He says a key factor in making this a meaningful process was that it was not a top-down exercise: it took in the views of customers and employees at every level.

“It was eye-opening,” Andrabi says. “First, 600-plus employees participated in discussions about what makes Genpact different and what makes them proud to be part of the firm.

“Lots of them spoke about what we do for our customers: for example, facilitating speedy claims processing so that policyholders can get back on track. People also spoke a lot about the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that Genpact runs.”

The conversation was then broadened to draw in views from Genpact’s clients, and the same themes emerged.

“One of the most fascinating things for me was learning that a majority of the population thinks alike when it comes to Genpact’s purpose, which is that we make a difference to human lives,” he says.

He believes the exercise came at the right time, as consumers increasingly seek purpose-driven companies that offer more than just a product or service, but a whole ethos they can identify with.

“With Generation Z, consumer behaviour is not about just buying because you need to consume something,” he says. “Gen-Zers are more aware of themselves and of factors such as the environment. As a company you have to have a purpose that aligns with the consumers you want to do business with.”

“Our purpose came not from the boardroom but from the trenches: people believed in it already.” Yasir Andrabi, Genpact

Purposeful partnerships
This has already worked for Genpact, enabling it to build beneficial alliances with like-minded partners.

“We want to work with people who are making a change in the world,” Andrabi says. “When an organisation shares our passion for our purpose, that’s a meeting of minds which means we can become a strategic partner rather than a vendor.”

For a statement of a company’s purpose to be truly useful it has to actively drive the company’s activities—that’s why Genpact approaches possible partnerships by initially establishing what is valuable to the potential client. They then ask three questions: (i) how will working with Genpact make things better for the client; (ii) how can Genpact improve the client’s customers’ experience (such as policyholder experience); and (iii) how can they make it easy to do business with Genpact?

The technology solutions that Genpact proposes, along with questions about how the technology and processes will be managed, is now a secondary point of conversation. The primary focus is how Genpact can impact the experience of clients, their customers and their employees.

“That has involved a mindset shift in how you approach a problem, but it’s been very easy to rally the troops behind it, because our purpose came not from the boardroom but from the trenches: people believed in it already—we just gave it a shape,” he says.

The insurer of the future
Andrabi believes that Genpact’s purpose aligns with the way the wider world of insurance is evolving—which is characterised by three interlocking themes: optimised reality; ethical impact; and whole system planning.

“We believe these are the three hallmarks of the insurer of the future,” he says. As an example of optimised reality, he cites Allstate’s SquareTrade, which makes it easy to opt into mobile device warranties at the point of purchase, rather than having to shop around.

“It means that as a customer, my reality has been optimised to a single touchpoint, and the entire ecosystem around it is a collaboration between an insurance company, a technology company, and a telecommunications company,” he says.

“Customers are looking for the easiest way to do business, and this ecosystem makes their lives easy.”

Another example is Swiss Re’s Drought Index Solution—a satellite-based soil moisture index developed in cooperation with VanderSat.
“It means they can predict a failed crop, cutting out the time needed to investigate claims. For a farmer, this means a claim can be processed almost in real time; it has made the farmer’s life easier as a consumer of that insurance product, and as an insurer, it means you’ve changed your status from premium collector to a protector,” says Andrabi.

“That is the best example of optimised reality, and something that companies are going to have to think about more.”
As an example of ethical impact, he cites QBE’s Premiums for Good programme, which enables policyholders to assign a certain portion of their premium to go towards a social cause.

“QBE has committed around $100 million towards social causes—this is much bigger than just CSR,” he says.
He adds that 2020 was a test of insurance companies’ commitment to becoming more ethically aligned with their customers.
“During COVID-19, insurance companies proactively declared that they would return insurance premiums, especially in auto insurance, because people were not driving as much,” he says.

“It started with a couple of companies in the US, and it grew pretty quickly. The mindset of just needing to grab every dollar, every cent, every pound has changed, because the buyer wants to know how much they can trust you and whether you will be there for them when they need you.
“This goes way beyond having a code of ethics in a book somewhere.”

Long-term relationships and customer loyalty are paramount, especially if a company wants to encourage a client to buy multiple products from them. With this in mind, Andrabi highlights the importance of whole system planning, in which insurers and other service providers collaborate to improve and simplify the customer experience—as seen in the examples from Allstate and Swiss Re.

“Rather than transacting in bite-sized pieces, it’s about having a holistic experience,” Andrabi says. “When insurance companies come together and build this ecosystem, working towards an optimised reality, they are, in essence, thinking about a whole system that offers a one-stop shop, and can take you almost from cradle to grave.”

“Rather than transacting in bite-sized pieces, it’s about having a holistic experience.”

Purpose in action
Genpact’s approach to claims management reflects its commitment to making insurance simpler, easier, and more beneficial to all stakeholders. For example, it uses data and analytics to identify individuals currently on a short-term disability claim due to an injury at work, who could potentially have a longer-term disability if the correct interventions are not made.

“Making those interventions helps the individual get back to work sooner,” says Andrabi. “They are healthier because they won’t be ill for as long, and the business that they work for gets a worker back on duty.”

Genpact is also working on the use of technology and data to improve ways insurers work—for example, using computer vision technology to create a touchless property claims experience, identifying damage remotely and automatically linking this to the insured’s policy coverages.
“We’re always looking at ways to make it easy for the insured to get a good service—through data, technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning,” he says.

“These are more than just buzzwords; it’s about using these tools to improve somebody's life—for example, by helping people back to work so they can earn a living, or making a home safe and inhabitable again.

“That’s what makes it worth waking up and putting our purpose into action every day.”

Genpact, Insurance, Reinsurance, Yasir Andrabi, Global

Intelligent Insurer