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April 11, 2019

21st Century Claims: Boosting Efficiency

Summary:

Customers now demand choice in how and when they engage. That means insurers must provide a digital, yet humanized, claims experience.

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The voice of the customer has never been so important to business; a growing number of customers now rely on the reviews and experiences of others to help guide their purchasing decisions, and this trend will only increase as millennials make up a greater portion of insurance carriers’ customer bases.

This should be viewed as a positive development. Customers, after all, vote with their wallets, and a scenario where carriers provide what customers want (rather than what is best for the carriers) can only drive standards higher.

The claims process is where the customer experience can be best affected, so it is no surprise that it is currently in sharp focus. Customers want choice in how and when they engage, as well as the information they receive, but, during a claim, when a distressing loss may have occurred, the importance of human empathy cannot be understated. To deliver these aspects requires a digital, yet humanized, claims experience.

In an intensely competitive environment, how can carriers identify quick wins to maximize the impact on customer experience and efficiency for minimum output and disruption?

See also: Key Technology Trends for Insurers in 2019  

Insurance Nexus held a webinar with claims experts from five companies focusing on improving the claims process with digital technologies: Bea Rolbiecki (AVP senior experience, USAA), Patrick Klas (associate, American Family Ventures), Daniel Regan (vice president, financial services, SAP Ariba), Allan Robinson (EVP field operations and sales and chief claims officer, Horace Mann Insurance) and John Langowski (EVP, chief claims officer, Swyfft).

Listen to the webinar recordings today

Throughout the webinar, the most striking consistency was the importance all panelists place on the customer. “Put customers first when building your digital experience” Bea Rolbiecki says. This means understanding the customer journey, what they need to do and how they feel at each stage of the journey. By identifying where bottlenecks and pain points are, investment can then be prioritized to deliver the maximum impact on the customer experience.

This is a significant departure from past practice, when investments, technological or otherwise, were usually made with profits and board member dividends in mind. Instead, the inverse is now advised. Swyfft’s John Langowski asks of any proposed change, “What would a panel of policy-holders think of this?” It can be easy to be attracted to the new and unknown, but “don’t just grab the next best thing out there,” he warns; investment must be targeted to specific customer needs.

Our discussion also highlighted the importance of the relationships between carriers and claims service providers; there is a “definitely a fear of start-ups,” American Family Ventures’ Patrick Klas says. Understandably, carriers might be hesitant to devolve responsibility of their claims processing to a third party who does not have the experience or reputation of a legacy insurer. Rather than see newcomers as “attackers,” however, Klas opines that companies such as Lemonade and Hippo have succeeded in raising industry standards. Customers prefer, and now expect, digital, personalized and seamless experiences, and it is up to carriers to ensure they meet these standards.

A final point may reassure those who fear job losses due to the “rise of the machines”; according to Rolbiecki, the whole aim of digitizing the claims process is to deliver a “sympathetic and connected claims experience.” While AI can do much that humans cannot, providing a sympathetic ear after a distressing loss is not one of them. Horace Mann’s Allan Robinson goes further, claiming that “from a claims adjusters’ perspective, the idea we won’t need adjusters is wrong.” Incorporating aspects of AI, intelligent automation and robotics will allow for straight-through processing of less complex claims, meaning adjusters and investigators can focus on more complicated and, ultimately, more interesting claims. This will actually make insurance, particularly claims, a “more interesting…and more fulfilling role.”

See also: Using Technology to Enhance Your Agency  

This webinar was run in conjunction with Insurance Nexus’ coming Third Annual Connected Claims USA Summit 2019, taking place June 5-6, at the Marriott Marquis Chicago Hotel. Welcoming over 750 senior attendees, Connected Claims USA is the world’s largest gathering for claims executives striving for efficient, customer-centric claims processing. 

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About the Author

Mariana Dumont is the head of U.S. operations at Insurance Nexus and is currently focused on helping carriers to transform claims processes to deliver a seamless claims experience.

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