To be or not to be – is CRM Insurtech?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Tuesday 03-07-2019, World Trade Center Amsterdam, an event hosted by Innopay, organized by Insurtech Amsterdam. It doesn’t surprise me anymore. The word “Insurtech” itself attracts many attendees. The room is almost too small to accommodate us all. Insurtech Amsterdam organizes these kinds of Meetups to bring companies and people together and to share and learn. After all, “Insurtech” is there and getting mature.

Topic of the day? Transforming Customer Experience across the Insurance Value Chain. That is a great and important ambition (if that transformation is in the right direction). Here is the description of that event:

Digitalization will impact every facet of the insurance value chain, from brokers to interaction with customers to sales and claim management. Customer experiences are dynamic, and they evolve with every interaction between the customer. Any efforts put into maintaining customer relationships are part of the insurance value chain and should ultimately result in positive customer experience.

On July 3rd, we will be exploring how technology is both driving these changes and providing the innovations to enable new business processes and solve business challenges, as well as improve the customer experience - right now and for the future. 

During the session keynote speakers Pascal Speliers and Caspar Fraiture share their insights. The examples of success in Digital Transformation and creating a positive customer experience are overwhelming. The downside... hardly any of them are related to the Dutch Insurance Industry. How come?

Dutch people don’t bite their tongue. “Dutch Insurance companies still don’t feel the pain – the need” or “Insurance companies are risk averse” are some of the remarks given by the audience. It brings me back to a similar meeting we attended in Belgium (organized by Insurtech Belgium and hosted by Belgian Insurer Baloise) where a keynote speaker used a comparison between animals to describe the differences between an insurance company and a start-up/scale-up Insurtech company. The summary of this…the one is big and slow, the other small and fast and the distance between the two simply too big.

Of course, I am biased (working for an Insurance CRM Solution creator) but I can’t stop thinking that there should be something in the middle. During the presentation Caspar Fraiture also touches that point... talking about building blocks and platforms, connecting Legacy with new Technology. And although we can indeed use chatbots and combine this with legacy database data it is so much more than that. I like to use a triangle to illustrate that.  

Let me start by saying that I do not refer to Program as in “Software Program”. I refer to Program as a Program of Change, getting (and staying) ready for a new world. In my humble opinion it is about the alignment between People, Process and Proof (as a synonym for Data in this context).

Let me start by People. Too often people are not really involved in the change the company is trying to go through. They are not aware of the underlying goals and the importance for all stakeholders. They merely get a set of new instructions. And that can result in strange and conflicting situations. The digital face of a company can indeed create a positive experience but what if human interaction fails to serve that goal. Maybe the worst example is that people even “become” technology. “If you don’t use our tools like they should be used, we can’t help you sir”.

The other important driver are the processes. During our event attendees commented on the fact that insurers only improve processes to increase efficiency and to cut costs. If that is your level of Digital Transformation, be aware of the storm that will come. Processes should be much more outside-in instead of inside-out. How do people interact and how can our processes support just that? Don’t make the mistake to think of homogeneous customers. Customer experience (based on expectations) are situational by default.

Using the word “Proof” as a synonym for data might seem awkward at first glance. But maybe it is closer to the true meaning of data then expected. Data is crucial and validates the why and how of what we do. If we do the right things and manage the existing and new data in the right way, it helps us tremendously in taking the right (automated?) decisions. And yes, it also proves to the Board that we are doing great because we still have a business to run.

Let me get back to the start of this article. Is CRM Insurtech? I really don’t know and I don’t care. All I know is that good Customer Relationship Management will play a vital role in tomorrows success of Insurance Companies and brokers. And that the platforms used to execute this strategy can be the glue between legacy and innovation (or Insurtech as you wish).

You will find out that we have embraced the Microsoft Dynamics Platform doing so. We believe in the past, presence and future of that platform to connect the dots. And we even believe the platform will help to close the gap between the two animals that we used before in a metaphoric way. The gap between Big & Slow and Small & Fast. Let’s get there together.

Realdolmen/GFI is the ISV behind Traviata, a successful CRM solution for the insurance industry based on the foundation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. We will be present at Inspire 2019 in Las Vegas and happy to talk to you. Please send an e-mail to to set up a meeting.


Martin Smit, Partner Manager Traviata.