The drive to digitization in insurance: Turning "big paper" into big profit

Big Paper: It's as Important as Big Data

Insurers are abuzz with the potential for future competitive advantage through "big data" and analytics. Meanwhile, huge opportunities exist in what might be called "big paper." The idea of digitizing paper documents and providing e-delivery options for customer communications may not sound as exciting as big data, but very high business value makes big paper worthy of attention and investment.

Most insurers have been scanning documents and capturing data for many years, but in reality, vast amounts of paper continue to flow in and out of an insurance company. As we look out into the competitive landscape and understand the emerging customer expectations, there are significant new opportunities to tranform paper documents of all types into digital formats - yielding major improvements in business optimization and the customer experience.

To gain a deeper understanding of these new opportunities for business value, SMA conducted an extensive survey of insurers. This industry research on the transition from paper to digital documents and communications was conducted in partnership with Tech Decisions in the fourth quarter of 2011. Over 200 insurance company representatives participated; 69% were business leaders and 31% were IT leaders. The respondents included a representative mix of lines of business and company sizes.

The survey results provide key insights on the current state and future plans for digitization of inbound and outbound documents, including those in archival storage. The primary hypotheses of the study were confirmed:

  1. Enormous potential still exists for the digitization of content in the insurance industry.
  2. Insurers are investing in improving their capabilities in the areas of digital capture, digital creation, and e-delivery.
  3. Digitization initiatives are supporting business optimization and growth plans, especially when integrated with BPM, core systems, CCM, and other initiatives.