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All around the globe, the insurance market is changing, and fast. No sooner are we all growing accustomed to comparison websites and online documentation than insurers are offering quotes based on telemetry and big data, which is getting bigger all the time.

Underpinning this seismic change in the world’s insurance industry is the technology provided by SSP. The daunting task of ensuring SSP’s insurer customer services are fit for such a fast-moving, international market falls to global head of customer service Tracie Ward. We caught up with her earlier this year to find out what it takes to keep up with customers’ changing needs.

Why is agility so important for your customers, and how do you ensure your service responds to their shifting needs?

Insurers need to be able to react quickly to changing market conditions, whether that’s on an aggregator website, or simply advance notice that the weather conditions are changing, all impacting underwriting rules and rate changes. They want to make changes in real time, rather than what traditionally would be a lengthy change management process.

Historically, if an insurer wanted to change a rate or product, they’d have to submit it to us. We’d code and test the changes, and it would then go through a lengthy deployment service. Now they log on to the cloud, and we give them a tool set that enables them to become self-sufficient.

How else has SSP adapted?

Previously we had a series of reactive help desks around the globe, and the onus was on the customer to tell us about any problems with their software. My team focused on change management, aligning the IT services with the needs of the customer’s business. But as we started to deliver a new model, Software as a Service (SaaS), it became more about mitigating our clients’ risk so they can move at a rapid pace. Instead of fixing problems, we’re helping companies to make the most of SaaS within their organisation and enabling them to make the real-time changes to meet their business needs.

How crucial are SSP’s employees in recognising what’s needed?

Once, we would have relied on technology to alert us to a problem for a customer. Now, we have staff monitoring our customers’ sites around the world, and they’re looking at the actual data: not just what’s broken, but spotting potential improvements to the way an order’s processed.

How do you ensure that this focus on customer needs permeates SSP?

SSP make the solutions, but providing the wrap-around service is really good old-fashioned customer service. Technology moves, but one thing that remains constant is that you have to get close to your customer. Every conversation with one of my team is a touch point into the organisation, it comes down to the value of communication at every level.

How is the organisation preparing itself for changes in the insurance industry in the years to come?

It’s for insurers to decide what they’ll offer in the future; our job is to help the changes happen as quickly and seamlessly as possible. If there’s a problem with your smartphone or Apple Watch, you don’t need to take it to them; they’ll fix it for you with a software upgrade overnight. That’s where we need to be in our service to insurers. Insurers are going to be more agile. They’ll want as few touch points and as little development as possible. We can’t see the future, but we do know we have to be more flexible in the service we provide, because one thing that’s certain is there will be change. Click here to read the original version of this article. Click here to view the Institute’s Customer of the Future report.

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