August 25, 2016
Gig Economy: Newest Tool for Insurance
Insurers are discovering that the gig economy presents an opportunity to leverage crowdsourcing to solve inefficiencies.
Why is this taking so long?!
The challenge I hear echoed throughout the insurance industry is, “How do we speed up the claims process for customers?” Insurance companies often face the brunt of the frustrations from stressed-out customers regarding delays with their claims. As we all know, processing those claims takes time and patience to gather information, details, photographs and a myriad of other documentation. Getting the right information and accurate documentation takes even longer.
Based on the volume of claims, resources and personnel can become stretched thin quickly. Despite all the efforts within organizations, it’s not uncommon to see claims departments contorting themselves like Gumby to get it all done. Insurance claims are stressful, and relying on customers to reliably and quickly provide information is a challenge — even when it’s to their benefit.
The problem becomes exacerbated following natural disasters or claims in geographic locations where companies have little to no footprint and limited resources to document and gather the information needed. In those situations, companies have to reallocate and sometimes relocate resources — which is expensive, time-consuming and a logistical nightmare.
See also: What Gig Economy Means for Insurers
Saving time, improving data quality and accuracy are all key components to avoiding customer frustration and increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Traditional Challenges Meet Disruptive Solutions
Recently, there’s been a lot of handwringing about the “sharing economy” or the “gig economy” and what it means for traditional lines of business, workers and whether it will completely transform the workplace as we know it. As Tony Canas shared in his Insurance Thought Leadership piece, “What Will Be the Uber of Insurance?”, the gig economy is hardly the end of the world — and the insurance industry is probably due for some disruption.
What a number of traditional lines of business are beginning to discover is that the gig economy presents an opportunity to leverage crowdsourcing to solve challenges and inefficiencies and even spark innovation within their own organizations. Target and Instacart, Ford and Lyft, are both great examples of how large, traditional verticals are finding ways to integrate the gig economy into new products and services to attract and keep customers while increasing the bottom line.
Now, let’s go back to one of insurance’s greatest challenges: saving time and improving accuracy in the claims process, particularly when it comes to getting information such as photographs, records, police reports and inspections. These tasks sometimes feel like they can go on forever with a single claim, as companies try to coordinate logistics with policyholders.
What if there was an Uber for insurers? A service that could dispatch an objective third party with a smartphone to quickly take pictures and gather exactly the information needed in the claims process almost immediately?
The gig economy and the crowdsourcing model provide a nimbleness and speed that are often sacrificed or buried alive in large enterprise organizations.
See also: The Gig Economy Is Alive and Growing
Turning to the gig economy and its on-demand workforce is generating economic benefits and creating true efficiency. We’ve witnessed the process being replicated in companies both large and small and in a variety of categories.
I’m continually inspired by the creativity of entrepreneurs and how they’ve found inspirational ways to apply crowdsourcing. From crowdfunding, ridesharing, coworking, delivery services (even pet Airbnb), the gig economy marketplace is homing in on specific consumer and business needs and is delivering.
It can do the same for claims, so we can all stop being asked why they are taking so long.