Insurance Business sat down with NTI’s Janelle Greene to find out how the specialist insurer is rethinking the way claims are handled
It’s fair to say that insurance claims aren’t always handled as well as they could be. Many companies within the field seem to view themselves as collection agencies, while treating the actual claims process as something of an afterthought.
Yet claims are an integral part of the insurance business and of crucial importance to maintaining long-term customer goodwill.
Fortunately, more insurers are starting to realise the importance of a good claims process. NTI has been a leader in this field for more than two decades and places considerable emphasis on best practice in claims.
“NTI is a specialist insurer, so the number-one thing we do is evolve and innovate to deliver better service value propositions to our clients,” says Janelle Greene, general manager of operations and strategic delivery at NTI Group.
In practical terms, this means having a dedicated team of claims consultants who are trained in first-response scenarios, including for dangerous goods.
These consultants proactively manage the claim from start to finish and are available 24/7 via NTI’s 1800 NTI NOW hotline.
“That’s unusual in the insurance industry, but we see it as essential,” Greene says.
“Our staff specialise in the unique challenges of transport and logistics, such as road rules, shipping regulations and other issues that customers face on a day-to-day basis.”
NTI also has an internal recovery expert working alongside the claims teams, along with an entire internal division dedicated to parts purchasing, settlements, emergency response and repair management.
“We can start working on recovery from the day the claim is lodged,” Greene says.
It’s an attitude that pervades the entire organisation’s hiring policies. “We need staff who are experts in their fields,” Greene says.
“So we aim to hire employees who have either previously worked in transport and logistics or have qualifications in adjacent fields. Having those capabilities in-house is an essential part of the way we operate.”
On top of that expertise, technology has played a significant role in bettering the client experience. Moving forward, Greene says NTI’s goal isn’t to replace human expertise, but to complement it with technology to enhance the claims processes.
“The big advantage of technology is in delivering a more seamless customer experience,” she says. “It allows more personalisation, better connectivity and the ability to track the claim’s progress the way the claimant wants to.”
Risk management and prevention
Of course, claims management is also closely tied to risk reduction and claims prevention.
In line with its proactive approach, NTI actively pursues investment in risk management to stop the issues that might result in claims before they happen.
“We have to care about road, vehicle and supply chain safety,” Greene says. “NTI works closely with industry peak bodies and associations to ensure that everything possible is being done to help clients appropriately.”
As part of this process, NTI has founded the National Truck Accident Research Centre [NTARC], an independent research facility.
The NTARC publishes biannual accident research papers and forges relationships with various transport industry bodies to improve road safety.
“We have to care about road, vehicle and supply chain safety. NTI works closely with industry peak bodies and associations to ensure that everything possible is being done to help clients appropriately” Janelle Greene, NTI Group
Subsequently, through trend and data analysis, NTI can work with its clients to establish effective risk management programs across a variety of issues, including vehicle maintenance, driver fatigue and other safety monitoring. Legislation and new technology are both playing important roles in creating a safer environment for clients.
“Technology is really changing the industry,” Greene says. “Over the next few years, I think we’re going to see technology playing a big part in the overall claims and risk management experience, particularly when it comes to preventing issues from arising in the first place.”
Strong relationships with partners and manufacturers are crucial for NTI to make sure it’s ahead of the curve on these issues and ready for future tech challenges.
One such initiative is NTI’s recent introduction of the Chain of Responsibility Health Check. The Chain of Responsibility [CoR], part of the Heavy Vehicle National Law, requires all parties within the supply chain to assume shared responsibility for safety on the road.
On 1 October 2018, changes to CoR laws were introduced in all states except WA and NT. In response, NTI developed the CoR Health Check, a collection of resources and a self-assessment tool that allows businesses to check their CoR compliance.
Including online assessments, templates and checklists, the CoR Heath Check gives operators both a benchmark of their current performance and practical steps they can take to improve their safety management.
The CoR Health Check is NTI’s first resource of this type, but Greene says there are more planned for the future.
“The big advantage of technology is in delivering a more seamless customer experience. It allows more personalisation, better connectivity and the ability to track the claim’s progress the way the claimant wants to” Janelle Greene, NTI Group
“We want to be able to assist specific sectors of the transport and logistics industry, and we’ve got plans in the pipeline to better meet their needs.”
Where do brokers fit in?
NTI has witnessed a broad variety of brokerclient relationships in the claims space. The nature of insurance – particularly within a specialised industry – means that change is constant. Procedural reviews need to occur regularly as a result of shifting legislation.
“We’re a specialist insurer, so we’re happy to manage the claim directly for the client,” Greene says. “But brokers can play a valuable role, too – they have history with the client and understand their particular needs. They can provide wider context and act as a partner.”
This partnership is of considerable value, Greene notes. Indeed, it’s possible that in the wake of the royal commission, brokers will become even more involved in the claims process in the future. The most important thing, she stresses, is that the customer feels that they are part of the process. “Brokers have been looking at it very closely in the last few months,” Greene says.
“Their individual policies are going to vary, of course, but NTI is always going to work closely with its broker partners to deliver the best customer outcomes.”