Call it adopting to Robotic process automation or settling for it, RPA is here to stay. According to a report put forth by Transparency market research, the IT-enabled Robotic Process Automation (RPA) market has been growing rapidly at a CAGR of 60.5% from 2014 and is expected to reach US$5 billion by 2020. The figures are sky-rocketing and so is the impact of Robotic process automation in this era of disruption.

Since its arrival, RPA has been widely accepted across industries, additional thanks to the ease of use and deployment. With such overwhelming adoption from across categories, even the Life insurance industry is now pacing up to get the word ‘time consuming’ and ‘redundancy’ out of their systems. It seems that Insurers are absolutely smitten by RPA and the automation brought in place. Plus, the cost effectiveness that comes along is definitely commendable if not impeccable.

RPA is said to perform the best when the processes are rule-based, repetitive, and make use of structured data as inputs. It clearly does not need any complex system integration, can yield up to 80% reduction in processing time and cost, has a quicker implementation cycle and does not need the user to know software development languages to get kick-started. With these crazy advantages, RPA is bound to gain momentum. A study by Gartner also suggests that RPA will reach mainstream adoption by year end 2018, now that is certainly huge.

But there is more to this than meets the eye

A study conducted by Gartner in North America found that around 70% of the respondents have plans or are currently implementing RPA in their processes. Life insurance CIOs are largely banking on Robotic process automation for the operational efficiency part of their legacy systems and processes. This opens a whole new world of opportunities for the RPA solution providers.

However, the study also found that life insurers are not buying a single RPA but relying on multiple ones to solve their business needs. They are found to be using an average of 4 RPA solutions and for 24% of the respondents, the number of RPA solutions implemented to cater to their business needs is as high as 10. On one hand, we are talking about operational efficiency, whereas, on the practical front it is evident that RPA buying decisions are being siloed, creating a greater technical debt from redundancy and duplication of skills. These hiccups need to be addressed to let the insurer reap the full benefits of RPA.

CIOs are now required to simplify the RPA solution landscape and find an enterprise level solution through RPA rather than focusing on the business lines. Assess and reassess the company’s roadmap, ensure that the duplication of these processes is brought to a minimal, and then head for implementing RPA in their systems.

Strategic RPA, not a loner’s game

While we have been talking a lot on the operational benefits one can achieve with RPA, there is a larger chunk of strategic benefits associated with RPA which most of the insurers are missing out. The Insurance industry’s landscape in the near future is going to be much more competitive than what it is now. RPA for life insurers is not only about automating a business process, but it could also be seen as a c-level strategy. Automation could evince a whole new era of disruption beyond operational efficiency taking the companies to an added high in comparison to the fellow adversaries. But then, RPA cannot do this on its own, CIOs would have to map all the business processes and streamline the same to maximize the business output. Once the organizational goals are set up front, RPA needs an ally, a counterpart. As it is, organizational goals have never been a loner’s game.

Today, RPA needs a strategy, RPA needs Intelligence.

[Also Read: Digital Insurers Leverage Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to Drive Operational Efficiencies]

RPA and the counterparts; beyond operational efficiency

The answer to this pricking question, as to how to bring operational efficiency is to combine RPA with as the name suggests, its intelligent counterpart, Artificial intelligence.

RPA robots are considered to be dumb, which one cannot really deny. RPA need only structured data as inputs, be it a form or an API or any other format. Now when the data is making the same sense but is unstructured as it is in some email, RPA could not process it. Now is when AI can come to the rescue, convert the unstructured data and pass it on to RPA in a structured form.

AI can be further combined with RPA to derive decisions. RPA lacks the power of judgment when it comes to complex decisions. Applying rule-based decision while taking into account specific criteria is something RPA can do, but when the complexity grows RPA grows even more helpless. At this juncture, cognitive reasoning, another type of AI can actually help RPA make decisions.

Imagine if combined together AI and RPA can swiftly take care of end-to-end processes. Thus when the two combine RPA upgrades to become ‘Intelligent RPA’.

The future holds remarkable potential for Robotic process automation only if planned well. The need is for the CIOs to unleash RPA’s strategic spectrum by bringing in ‘Centre of excellence’. CIOs can now start looking for advanced RPA solutions which could be used in conjunction with Artificial intelligence for Intelligent process automation. Gartner suggests insurers’ to review their digital roadmap, implement a business process redesign phase in all the RPA projects, and re-engineer the processes to enhance the customer experience.

Life insurers should resort to solution providers who cater to an entire spectrum of RPA solutions designed to serve the strategic organizational goals. There are companies like AutomationEdge who are already catering to the insurers’ strategic needs through their intelligent automation and cognitive capabilities. The same company has went on to help insurers and other industries achieve overall business efficiency as opposed to only operational efficiency.

[Also Read: Artificial Intelligence for Banking, Insurance and Financial Services]

The bottom-line From Commendable to Impeccable

It’s high time for insurers to gauge the capabilities of RPA, combine it with AI (to seek help for the unstructured ones), and watch their organization’s business capabilities increase many folds. It is only with using RPA in conjunction with its intelligent counterparts that the current inefficiencies of the RPA could be overcome. This comes as a wave of opportunity for the insurers waiting to be unleashed.

Explore how AutomationEdge RPA helps insurance industries to lower the cost, improve efficiency and accuracy here.