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Life and Health

MIRA Digital Suite: the future of life insurance is here

Munich Re’s new MIRA Digital Suite for life insurers allows clients to take advantage of all the opportunities that digitalisation provides. It delivers the keys to improving efficiency, creating innovative products, and opening up new client groups: MIRApply Physician for medical questions in the application process, MIRApply Insured for claimant risk queries, and CLARA (Claims Risk Assessment) for handling disability insurance claims. And the Suite’s MIRA PoS (MIRA Point of Sale) allows the cloud-based services to be completely integrated into life insurers’ systems. We talked to Karsten Steinmetz, Head of Medical Research and Development, about strategies and opportunities.

01.11.2019

TOPICS online: How did you come up with the idea for the MIRA Digital Suite, and what is its current status?

Karsten Steinmetz: Our starting point was how to deal with one of the biggest hurdles in our clients’ business processes: follow-up questions for the insured person’s physician that arise during the assessment of an application. Right now, such inquiries typically cause massive delays in the application process, are too labour-intensive, and often return inconsistent results. In order to overcome these challenges for our clients during the sale process, we began developing MIRApply Physician in 2016. Our initial efforts proved to be successful, so we applied the same principle to claimant risk inquiries, and developed MIRApply Insured.

So these two modules had been filling the two remaining analogue gaps in the digital application process since the end of 2017. And at around the same time, we started working on CLARA, which involved adapting a claims handling concept developed by our colleagues in Australia for the German market. In doing so, we were able to benefit from the experience we had recently gained with MIRApply. And that is basically how we got the idea for a platform, and the MIRA Digital Suite was born. In the meantime, at least ten large life insurers have started using services from the MIRA Digital Suite in our pilot market in Germany, which corresponds to a share of over 50%.

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The new services allow primary insurers to greatly reduce their expenditure when handling applications and claims. What else do they offer?

Steinmetz: The MIRA Digital Suite contains extremely agile and tailored services that directly address the problems that our customers face in the digitalisation process. MIRApply Physician, MIRApply Insured and CLARA are just the beginning, but are already delivering immense gains in efficiency. For example, CLARA cuts average handling times for disability insurance claims in half: from 200 down to 100 days. In the best cases, it allows the claim to be dealt with and completed in only five days.

Moreover, we are constantly digitising our know-how and making it available to our clients in the form of machine-readable rules – including data-analytics functions that are becoming more extensive every day. And thanks to the MIRA PoS, this means that clients can not only integrate the MIRA Digital Suite into their own systems, but also that they can connect third-party applications to our services. This increases data portability and allows the data-analytics functions to access the clients’ own in-house data pools.

Can you explain the technology behind MIRA PoS?

Steinmetz: Technically speaking, MIRA PoS is an application programming interface, or API for short. It is the technology that allows the services of the MIRA Digital Suite to be integrated into our clients’ application landscapes.

It also offers our clients the possibility of developing their own solutions, which can then access certain MDS functionalities and data via the interfaces. The way that MIRA flexibly orchestrates the various interchangeable service modules, regardless of location, is state-of-the-art in modern software development.

I can illustrate the various benefits using a concrete example: one of our existing clients was already using MIRApply Physician and MIRApply Insured when it decided it also wanted to automate its point-of-sale underwriting. Since it had already set up a digital online connection, it was easier to just re-use that and, using the MIRA PoS, expand its existing digital application questionnaire to include the MIRA Digital Suite’s risk assessment rules. As a result, all of its underwriting decisions are now consistent and based on the same information, whether at the point of sale, or later as a medical inquiry or question posed to the applicant. The entire process is digital and the decisions remain the same.

So would you say that the MIRA Digital Suite is a bit of a pioneer in accelerating growth for digital business models?

Steinmetz: Yes, absolutely. For example, the platform is allowing primary insurers to reach new “Generation Y” customers by developing, together with us, new and tailored digital and data-based products. The products themselves are then also marketed digitally. So the Digital Suite is giving primary insurers a real competitive advantage in sales – providing instant increases in efficiency and real growth opportunities.

Speaking of new products and business models: can you tell us about your ideas and plans for the future of the MIRA Digital Suite?

Steinmetz: The MIRA Digital Suite will allow us to generate new data sets with a consistent structure. The data will be coming from a variety of sources such as Underwriting and Claims and combined onto a single platform, providing us with newer and more exact findings than if we had analysed everything separately. And in future we will be offering clients many further innovative services via the MIRA Digital Suite, all based on our dynamically expanding knowledge base as reinsurers. For example, we are currently working on a service that will soon make it possible to automatically produce risk assessments for mental illnesses. This demonstrates that the MIRA Digital Suite is more than simply a business accelerator for our clients, it is also a powerful innovation platform that provides flexible benefits, depending on their particular digitalisation strategy.

How flexible are the Suite’s services for primary insurers?

Steinmetz: Our clients always have the option of buying the modules individually as well, at reasonable terms. Though the platform’s value naturally increases when clients combine more than one module – for example through more comprehensive analyses, more thorough findings, better coordinated processes, and joint interfaces. But MIRA Digital Suite is now also available as powerful individual modules, depending on the clients’ needs, and they provide more than merely isolated solutions. On the contrary, clients get access to an intelligent, networked concept that can be expanded at will, and which paves the way for them into the digital future of life insurance.

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