Why the Insurance Industry Needs More Than Spreadsheets

Jon Davies
18-Oct-2023 13:30:00

In a rapidly advancing world driven by digitization and automation, it's astonishing to see a lingering reliance on spreadsheets still deeply ingrained in the insurance sector. Despite their seemingly harmless nature, this outdated method of data management poses significant risks to companies, both in terms of operational efficiency and regulatory compliance. 

Insurance industry and Spreadsheets

The Problem with Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are a tool that gained popularity decades ago for the ability to centralize and organize data efficiently, but they have become increasingly problematic for a multitude of reasons:

  • Manual Overhead: The manual nature of spreadsheets makes them both time-consuming and error-prone.
  • Barriers to Collaboration: When workflows are divided between departments, collaborating becomes challenging, leading to redundancies and mistakes.
  • Limited Analytics: A spreadsheet doesn't offer the advanced analytics of more contemporary tools. Adjusting for new outputs or making changes often demands custom programming, which can be easily derailed by a single error in a formula.
  • Inflexibility: Legacy spreadsheet systems are not designed with today's rapidly evolving risk landscape in mind. This inflexibility impedes growth and innovation.

The Regulatory Pressure

Data governance has always been a significant concern in the insurance industry. With the ever-increasing focus on data privacy and cybersecurity, regulatory bodies have introduced stringent guidelines. For instance, the GDPR, CCPA, APRA, and ASIC, among others, have set clear standards for handling personal data for policyholders or claimants.

In such a tightly regulated environment, spreadsheets, which lack clear controls and historical detail, can be risky.

The Changing Landscape of Risk Management

The insurance industry is not what it was a decade ago. As risk management has grown in complexity, driven by internal and external pressures, the foundational tools supporting this function should also naturally evolve. However, that has yet to be the case. According to a 2018 poll, 60% of risk managers still rely on spreadsheets, while only 10% use a fully integrated data management system.

This over-reliance on outdated tools has left many professionals grappling with administrative burdens, often sacrificing accuracy. But there's a silver lining; companies are beginning to realize the potential of modern solutions.

Modern Solutions and Their Impact

Companies transitioning from traditional spreadsheets to more advanced platforms have reaped tangible benefits. For instance, "Company A," an Australian MGA, once mired in spreadsheet chaos, transitioned to InsuredHQ. This shift led to more compliant, organized, and streamlined data management, allowing the company to automate specific policy life cycle processes and focus more on building its book of business than mere administrative spreadsheet chores and double entry.

At InsuredHQ, we recognize the challenges of the insurance industry and the need for robust, modern solutions. While we believe in innovation and modernization, we emphasize providing tools that make the transition seamless and the outcomes effective.

The insurance industry's future lies in its ability to adapt, innovate, and evolve. It's time to leave spreadsheets in the past and move forward with tools that meet today's demands and lay the groundwork for tomorrow. 

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