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How Insurance Companies Can Reap the Benefits of Modern Knowledge Management

According to a recent article by the World Bank on “Becoming a Knowledge-Sharing Organization,” effective knowledge management comes down to three things: People, Process, and Technology. Traditionally, large organizations have relied on in-person training, and often maintain physical training centers to onboard new hires.

But, as the Harvard Business Review explains, many large organizations are shifting to digital or blended training formats. Insurers are increasingly relying on chief knowledge officers and chief learning officers (CKOs/CLOs) to drive innovation in the onboarding process, and to provide opportunities for self-directed learning and upskilling.

With a modern knowledge management system, insurance organizations can overcome information challenges and strive to preserve knowledge, making it instantly available to everyone in an organization, regardless of department or geographic location.
Here’s how to reap the benefits of modern knowledge management:

Staff Self-Service

A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that more than half of employees want to be able to “complete training” and “get help with difficult problems” entirely digitally or with a mix of digital and face-to-face support.

A self-service knowledge management (KM) solution can promote employee confidence and self-sufficiency by giving them the tools they need to solve problems themselves. The right KM tools can help frontline staff members reclaim lost time and become more productive, because they can find the information they need instantly.

With real-time access to information, employees don’t have to wait for responses from managers and underwriters, leading to a more inclusive and flexible corporate culture, and reducing the time it takes to provide prompt customer support.

Central Knowledge Base

Behind any effective self-service system is a central knowledge base, where all of the operational knowledge of a company is stored. In the insurance industry, this kind of central repository can quickly get out of hand, as policy documents accumulate, and multiple iterations of each underwriting manual need to be maintained.

The best type of knowledge base works like a search engine, bringing various types of resources together in one place with an intuitive search feature. Employees can look for the information they need using plain language – enabling them to find underwriting manuals and policy documents they may not yet be familiar with.

Employees can use filters to sort search results by date, product line, or region to ensure that they’ve located the correct version of each document. Most importantly, this type of central knowledge base allows organizations to maintain a single source of truth across multiple departments.

Domain-specific Approach

Because the insurance industry is so specific, a one-size-fits all knowledge base isn’t going to fit the bill. Insurance companies need a purpose-built knowledge management system that’s optimized for the insurance industry. That means industry-specific labeling and filtering so that individual departments don’t have to come up with shortcuts and workarounds to use a system that isn’t designed for them.

Advanced technologies like machine learning (ML) and natural language understanding (NLU) are already being applied in the insurance industry. By training AI applications on industry-specific terminology and datasets, organizations can speed up the underwriting process and streamline claims processing and claims management.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) points out that AI can be developed to give “robo-advice,” process telematic and parametric insurance policies, and more. Insurers need to be ready to handle these complexities, while also protecting customer data in line with regulations such as HIPAA and the GDPR.

Going Beyond Documents

An effective knowledge management system is more than just a system for managing documents. Employees need to be able to find information across multiple file formats, not just Word documents and PDFs. Key sources of data may be contained in images, presentation slides, videos, and more – and some types of tacit or implicit knowledge may not yet be documented at all.

If a document can’t be found by searching a title alone, employees should be able to search for words contained within a document or other relevant information to narrow the search down. Those results should be highlighted within the document so they’re easy to navigate and the employee can quickly find the result they’re looking for.

According to Deloitte, the right search tools and tagging mechanisms can reduce the amount of time employees spend looking for answers – and help reduce organizational silos, which is one of the biggest obstacles to effective knowledge management.

Low Maintenance

Finally, modern knowledge management systems are designed to be low maintenance systems that don’t require significant IT support. This is in contrast to legacy systems that are managed in-house and require cumbersome hardware and software.

As more employees shift to remote work arrangements, employers will need to provide access to knowledge management systems while maintaining high levels of security to address growing cybersecurity threats. Cloud-based platforms are easy to set up and can be implemented quickly, so employers can roll out access to remote employees while protecting confidential data.

Want to learn how ProNavigator can help you quickly modernize your knowledge management processes? Request a Demo.


Mitja Alexander Linss is the Sr. Director of Marketing at ProNavigator. He frequently writes about knowledge management, information discovery, artificial intelligence, and InsurTech.