We are living in a time in which data breaches have become the norm. Every enterprise and industry is at risk, and insurance is no exception. Ever since computers were invented, IT experts have been working to protect against threats through a process called identity and access management (IAM).

Making it right

As Gartner describes it, the purpose of IAM is to make sure the right people have access to the right resources at the right times and for the right reasons. In the past, IAM was the purview of the technology support people. Now, IAM has become everyone’s concern because of three common drivers that are changing the business environment:

  1. Digitization has had a direct impact on the customer experience. Think about the many players involved when a consumer or business comes to an insurance company to purchase services. There are mobile apps, websites, agents and call centers. You want to make sure your customers have a seamless experience as their transactions move through this omni-channel environment.
  2. Cyber fraud is a direct result of data breaches. In the past, hackers have focused on stealing money from financial institutions. Now they know the value of data, so their goal is to hack data-rich organizations, then sell that data elsewhere, or use the data for other leverage. As custodians of substantial amounts of personal data, the insurance sector is especially vulnerable.
  3. Customer demand for data security has become an absolute. As customers share their personal data in order to conduct business online, they expect the businesses they interact with to keep that data secure.

Under pressure

While three common business environment drivers are at work, there are three other factors putting pressure on the insurance industry:

  1. Cost―Insurers’ IT budgets are growing, as they migrate away from legacy systems in search of new and more secure solutions and migrate toward automated processes.
  2. Personalization―Increasingly, consumers expect personalized experiences from any business they interact with. Insurers are responding by expanding the use of prefill solutions and new insurance marketing tools that are designed with customization in mind.
  3. Customer expectations―In the Internet era, customers want instant gratification. With one click of the mouse, they can have a package delivered to their home on the same day. They want interacting with an insurer to be just as easy. That means insurers must process transactions faster―whether it’s a request for quote, an application or a claim.

These factors are compounded by the fact that consumers know their information has value. Often this means they give you as little of it as possible, but just enough to get what they want. There is an ongoing push and pull between consumer and insurer. Insurers want to provide an optimal customer experience in an environment in which they often don’t have enough information to do so. Ever-evolving regulatory compliance presents an additional burden.

Insurers are wrestling with how to provide the best service without putting data security at risk or having to say “no” to their customers. The question is, how can you protect against data breaches while creating a frictionless customer experience?  In my next post, I’ll explain how an integrated IAM platform allows you to say “yes” to your customers with confidence.

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