The age-old model of relying exclusively on the human channel — agents — in the insurance industry is breaking down.

What will be the top IT challenges and trends for the insurance industry in 2014? X by 2, a consulting firm specializing in the industry, offers the following:

Ramping up self-service. The age-old model of relying exclusively on the human channel — agents — in the insurance industry is breaking down. Agents can no longer be the only channel for servicing the consumer.

“Insurers that embrace change and make significant investments in direct-service channels and self-service capabilities to consumers through mobile and web will gain market share for the foreseeable future,” says Yasir Hussain, principal of X by 2. “While system modernization continues to take place in the backend, leapfrog investments will be made to the systems supporting mobile and web.”

Big Data gets “small.” All the fuss over Big Data leads to one “small” thing only: getting to know your customer better than your competition. Insurers that recognized the potential of Big Data and began to do something about it several years ago will begin to reap the benefits this year. Connecting the dots for a single view of the customer for better sales, service, and support now becomes possible. For organizations that have not laid the groundwork for this new reality, the competition gets tougher.

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