November 11, 2020
Re-engineering Claims Payments
by Elisa Logan
A recent survey found that 42% of consumers would be more likely to stay with an insurer that pays approved claims within minutes.
Since COVID-19 made its way into the U.S., insurers have been hyper-focused on customer retention.
But priorities have shifted since the beginning of the year. A Celent survey released in January revealed that most companies were confidently readying for a year that would focus on innovation and be characterized by investments in digital claim offerings, client satisfaction strategies and process optimization. Fast forward to April, when a follow-up survey found that innovation took a back seat to customer retention, process optimization and cost-reduction measures as insurers responded to the 2020 pandemic dynamic.
One strategy remained high on the list: the need for digital transformation, especially in the area of claim payment.
A recent Metabank survey found that 42% of consumers would be more likely to stay with an insurance provider that pays approved claims within minutes. Findings from a VPay report revealed that the majority of policyholders — especially across younger generations — would change carriers to gain access to real-time payment.
Consequently, groups that are still dealing primarily in paper for claim payment processing must act as their future competitiveness hinges on getting money into policyholders’ hands quicker. And those insurers that have already taken some action on the digital payment front — such as implementing automated clearinghouse (ACH) — can no longer rest on their laurels. Next-generation claim payment will be characterized by an expanded portfolio that considers a wide range of offerings, from ACH and virtual cards to push-to-debit and mobile e-payment.
See also: Transforming the Claims Space
In the near term, insurers would be wise to consider how to make claim payment as convenient as possible through the provision of more payment options. For example, web-enabled solutions that enable the policyholder to quickly approve payments and opt for e-payments will become key differentiators. The lag time associated with ACH payments will not suffice any longer as the industry moves closer to real-time payment.
Consumers are also increasingly looking for personalized experiences. Options that allow policyholders to select their preferred form of payment, whether a digital offering or paper-based check, improve customer satisfaction across a wide array of generations.
As insurers speed process reengineering strategies, many are finding that the business case for outsourcing digital payment is easy to make, according to the most recent Celent report. Findings suggested that many groups were considering pushing out non-strategic activities, such as payment, to third parties, as they lacked the infrastructure and expertise to implement and oversee a digital strategy that complies with regulatory requirements and protects security.
A Growth Strategy for 2020 and Beyond
The introduction of COVID-19 has undoubtably left a lasting mark on the insurance sector, uncovering areas that left many companies exposed in terms of process optimization. These shortfalls only further underscore the need for digital adoption — especially as it pertains to claim payment. Insurers that embrace the digital age during COVID-19 recovery and beyond will be better positioned for future success and sustainability.