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Making the Branch Core to Omnichannel, and a Hub for Financial Expertise

I recently returned from a Financial Services Summit event in China, where I discussed trends in an omnichannel delivery strategy with an audience from 30 banks. A central part of my discussion was the notion that things are not changing, they’ve already changed. Consumers across the globe have a heavy appetite for digital services.

Digital consumers across all age groups are adopting new digital behaviors at a faster pace. For example, it took one European bank 10 years to have 20 million hits per month on their website, but when they introduced their new mobile banking app, it only took 1.5 years to reach 20 million hits per month.

In a recent Internet of Everything (IoE) in Financial Services consumer study conducted by Cisco across 12 countries, we saw that in China, there is a high interest for alternative banking solutions. However, this same group of respondents (72 percent) put the branch as their first preference for opening up an account. We saw similarly high scores across Brazil, India, Russia and Mexico. The U.S. consumers came in at 60 percent.

So, what does this tell us? For one, it tells us that we need to not only evolve our mobile strategy but also see the branch as a valuable asset that is complementary to mobile and still core to any omnichannel banking delivery model.

Yes, the branch still matters. From opening up an account, to applying for a car loan or even a mortgage, there is an educational and personal interaction component to that journey. Consumers often feel that they are not fully equipped to make decisions about financial products and services alone and often seek advice and guidance from a trusted banking specialist. Read More »

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Make Collaboration a Key Part of Your Litigation and Claims Handling Strategy

For those of us who have been in this industry awhile, the Property and Casualty (P&C) insurance market continues to be plagued by inefficiencies in claims handling and litigation management. Adjusters assigned to manage the claim are geographically dispersed, have varying degrees of expertise about the loss event, and handle multiple claims simultaneously. Disparate legacy systems still exist, and silos are prevalent between business, technology, and lines of business. This can result in wasted time and compromised claim performance.

Industry leading insurers should consider applying unified communications and collaboration technologies to lower claim expenses, while transforming the entire claims process into a seamless experience for all parties involved. Insurers continue to be challenged with diverse collaboration methods, especially for long-tail, complex claims in litigation, frequently with high monetary exposure potential and multiple collateral sources involved. A well-defined collaboration strategy can benefit customers, self-insureds, defense law firms handling insurer claims in litigation, agents, brokers, third-party administrators, government entities, court systems and reinsurers. Read More »

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The Connected Life: The Art of the Possible in Insurance

Gathering and Harvesting New Data through “The Connected Life”

The Connected Life, the digital life is steadily emerging. Today’s insurance consumers are increasingly tech savvy and want services on demand and expect them to be readily accessible anywhere, anytime. Because of this, the insurance industry and more specifically, the personal property and casualty insurance sector, is experiencing a significant period of change and opportunity. The primary change agent in this disruption is the significant amount of specific data that an insurance organization can gain for individual policyholders or prospective policyholders in this era of the Internet of Everything.

An industry steeped in tradition, legacy systems, conservative business practices and risk avoidance is now faced with the need for significant, rapid adoption of new technology accompanied by new data analytics models. This change is in-progress and data from the connected car, connected home and connected person is being gathered. The challenge facing the Insurance organization is not the data gathering, but the management, mining and “harvesting” of this expansive data. In fact, Cisco acknowledges five pillars in this space: Connect, Collect, Analyze, Decide and Apply. Focusing only on the first two areas of Connect and Collect will not provide an advantage over competitors. The key focus areas that will bring true value to insurers are Analyze, Decide, and Apply.

Put simply, a competitive advantage can be achieved by those organizations who effectively “harvest” newly gathered data from connected life solutions. Virtually all property and casualty insurance organizations with a top 100 ranking are investigating, testing, piloting or commercially deploying “Big Data” initiatives. These data gathering initiatives include connected vehicle/telematics, connected home and connected health of the individual, and further include value-added offerings for the consumer, while providing the opportunity for insurers to learn a lot about the policyholder or a prospective policyholder. Read More »

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Enabling “The Easy” Button for Insurance

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a blog titled, “Mayday for Insurance and Financial Services,” where I detailed how next-generation customer experience capabilities, such as virtual interactions between business experts and customers, are transforming business processes – such as the “Mayday” button technology offered on Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX. The purpose of that blog was to explain virtual interaction capabilities and discuss how they are likely to become integrated into the insurance industry in the near future. So what’s changed? Well, I’ve gone from blogging about the changes to come, to speaking at insurance industry conferences about how virtual transactions are now transforming how the industry does business and how Cisco is helping fuel these virtual interactions.

I attended the Property Insurance Report National Conference, and had many great discussions. The focus of the conference was on ways the property insurance world is changing, through consideration of new ideas and the utilization of new tools being built. It’s widely considered that with the arrival of better information and tools, the most sophisticated insurers will be able to separate themselves from those who don’t take these changes as seriously or employ them as skillfully. Features such as online video sales and support are working in the real world for other industries, so how they can be applied to insurance?

At the conference, I gave a keynote presentation titled, “Omni-Channel for Insurance – Virtual Enhanced Distribution & Service Channels”. The presentation specifically focused on how virtual interactions are transforming the insurance industry and improving customer experiences.

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The Advice Advantage: How Banks Can Close the ‘Value Gap’ and Regain Customer Trust

Today’s banking consumers are used to experiences that reflect their likes, dislikes, past histories, and even their future plans. But not always from their banks. These kinds of interactions are more common when buying an online book, streaming a movie, or planning a vacation. Despite numerous omnichannel initiatives, many banks continue to lag in providing contextual, relevant, and convenient experiences to their customers. And while many customers yearn for personalized financial guidance, a Cisco survey of 7,200 smartphone users and bank customers in 12 countries found that for too many bank customers, the choice is between no advice, or what they perceive to be generic advice delivered inconveniently.

As a result, bank customers often try to attain their most important financial goals on their own, via “friends” on social media, or from non-traditional providers of financial services. Moreover, since the financial crisis of 2007-2008, banks’ brand equity has fallen. Read More »

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