Why is paper still a topic in 2019?
End customers all know this – banks and insurers alike love sending paper. They continue to ask their customers to opt-out from receiving paper, promising instead that a customer can choose a fully digital alternative.
The problem with that promise is that although well meant, it is not completely true.
While most companies in the financial industry can indeed stop sending you tons of paper per mail, what they will often do instead, is sending you loads and loads of pdf files.
One of the biggest challenges the industry faces is actual and true digitization. In order to digitize a business one needs to realize that the internet is not only a medium, it is a completely different universe with its own rules. All current processes and practices in the financial industry and specifically in insurance have been inherited from a world, run on paper. Paper as a medium pre-defines a lot due to its natural characteristics and limitations. It can be, for example only in a difficult way, if at all, made available to multiple parties in real-time at the moment information is recorded on it. Yet, paper continues to dictate business rules and considerations. Companies continue to think in terms of generated files, printed out reports, scanning of incoming documents.
True digitization can only, therefore, succeed if one takes a step back and is prepared to question, rethink, redefine and continuously adjust all current processes. Thanks to the internet the newly defined processes could be so radically different that they no longer bear any resemblance to the original ones, while others may be doomed fully unnecessary and be left in the past.
Paper changed the world. It will continue to hold an important role in certain aspects of life. Business-wise in 2019 it is about time it stops dictating the rules.