A new study from US insurance software provider Fiserv has revealed that customers expect simpler processes and property and casualty insurance firms are looking for innovative technology to help them meet this expectation.

Leading insurance carriers have become adept at dealing with customers and business partners online. However, virtually all carriers recognize that, not only is there room for improvement, but that they must continuously improve their underlying technology to better serve their customers and enhance their competitive position, Fiserv said.

The results from the survey of US property and casualty (P&C) insurers identify critical business needs and the projects and technologies insurance carriers have underway to address them.

The results show that 75% of respondents agreed that one of their next three large-scale projects would involve their core system for maintaining insurance coverage information. Furthermore, 67% said that agency interface or comparative rating would be on their list of projects planned, and billing and claims projects to make things smoother for the customer tied at 42%.

Respondents noted that the top three most important technologies for their organization included a data access layer (67%) that allows easier availability of decision-making information, business process management (46%) to streamline processes for highest efficiency, and Java technology (42%).

The survey results show an increasing focus by P&C insurers on effectiveness as well as efficiency, said Todd Eyler, chief technology officer of Fiserv Insurance. The most important technology focus is now on data accessibility so companies offer the best insurance products for their markets and make better decisions using business intelligence/analytics applications.

P&C insurers want to improve effectiveness in key areas like their pricing and rating approaches, their customer segmentation and marketing approaches, and their underwriting and claims outcomes. This level of focus on data and analytics is a new emphasis for most P&C insurers, he continued.

Survey responses indicated that improved customer service, enhanced business management and ease of conducting business with a carrier were the most important business requirements for innovation.