The drive to digitise

24-10-2022

The drive to digitise

The forces driving insurers to embrace digital transformation is gathering momentum as they seek to keep pace with customer expectations and control costs. But reinsurers are also quickly understanding the benefits, which can offer full transparency of an underlying portfolio—ending the requirement for some underwriters to make decisions partly based on a “hunch”.

That is the opinion of Arndt Gossmann (pictured), the co-founder and chief executive of DGTAL, an insurance high-tech company formed in October 2021 by liability manager Gossmann & Cie and Deon Digital, a software company based in Copenhagen and Zurich.

Gossmann is in Baden-Baden this week speaking to insurers and reinsurers about its claims product DRILLER, an analytics and audit tool which offers insights into claims portfolios. Using artificial intelligence (AI), it enables insurers to tap into their structured and unstructured data, to gain clarity on their claims portfolios, forecast adverse developments, and flag critical claims. While so far any analytics is limited to the 2 percent structured data, DRILLER allows to include the remaining 98 percent.

Discussing the benefits to insurers first, he told Intelligent Insurer that there are two elements driving their adoption of such technology. The first, is to keep pace with customer expectations. “At the front end, customer expectations around digitisation are significant, and this was accelerated by COVID-19,” he said.

“Customer expectations around digitisation are significant.” Arndt Gossmann

“But being more digital at the front end is only efficient if the backend is also keeping pace. Insurers need to ensure they are customer-centric. They have no option but to ensure they keep embracing technology. That is what their customers expect.”

The second driver is cost efficiencies, he said, something that is now exacerbated by inflation and economic uncertainty. “Digitisation reduces operating costs but, using AI, insurers can also reduce claims costs in terms of what they pay out.”

He says clients already using the DRILLER platform report a 10 percent saving on claims costs—in addition to savings on the administrative/operations side as well as a noteworthy reduction in claims leakage. He explains that AI allows insurers to more easily sort and assess claims in ways that ensure the most complex are shown to a claims handler.

“Using AI to help the human interface allows for the better application for the true knowledge in companies,” he said. He notes that such technology offers an element of risk-proofing around knowledge and talent. “If a senior claims handler leaves, much more of that knowledge remains in the company this way,” he says.

Gossmann says these two factors together—customer demand and cost reduction—mean there is a fundamental and attractive proposition for insurers to digitise now. “This represents a new way of working, which will profoundly change the insurance industry. It is comparable to the way in which data processing changed the industry in the late 1970s.”

Deeper analysis

Reinsurers are quickly realising the potential benefits of working in this way. DRILLER, at its core, uses machine learning to digitise documents—before applying AI. But once a dataset is digitised, it can then be assessed, reviewed and analysed in a way that was previously impossible.

“This means reinsurers can have the ability to analyse their portfolios and the portfolios of clients in a much deeper way,” he said. “I believe that, by this time next year, we will see reinsurers and insurers in Baden-Baden making decisions specifically based on DRILLER analysis.”

He offers the medical analogy of assessing a patient based on external factors such as blood tests and a physical examination, versus completing a compressive scan. “Suddenly, you have pictures of the inside,” he said. “For reinsurers, this means better transparency. They will no longer have to operate based on a hunch. That means making better underwriting decisions.

“For reinsurers, this means better transparency.”

“Insurance business is all about knowledge and trying to do a little better in every way you can. The industry is facing many challenges at the moment. But if that is a poison, we now have an antidote.”

On the back of these factors, DGTAL has enjoyed strong growth since it was launched. The company signed up a revenue potential of close to €2 million for 2023, mostly in health and motor insurance in Germany, the UK and Greece. It has now processed more than five million documents and 500,000 claims files using DRILLER.

The business, which has headquarters in Zurich, a development hub in Copenhagen and an operating platform in Athens, is in advanced discussions with institutional investors for an additional €6 million Series A equity injection. This would add to the €10 million the company’s founders pre-invested.

Gossmann is confident the company will continue to enjoy traction. But he said the key is speaking to C-suite executives about the potential of digitisation. “That is where they see the challenges and where they also see the potential of the solutions,” he said.

 

Arndt Gossmann is the co-founder and chief executive of DGTAL. He can be contacted at: a.gossmann@dgtal.io

Baden Baden 2022, DGTAL, Transparency, Technology, Digital, AI, Claims, Insurance, Reinsurance, Arndt Gossmann, Europe

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