Recent failings around the handling of disaster-related claims have raised many questions regarding efficiency, but according to property information and analytics firm CoreLogic, one simple solution could be on the horizon.
Claims automation has yet to make huge waves in New Zealand, but global insurers have been utilising the process abroad with great success. At its core, the process aims to deal with claims quickly and efficiently using 100% digital tools and eliminating the need for manual data handling.
CoreLogic’s head of insurance sales in New Zealand, Richard Deakin, talked to Insurance Business about the huge potential benefits of claims automation, and how it could significantly expedite the claims process across the board.
“Insurance companies are spending a lot of time trying to improve their digital onboarding, but on the other side, you have the back-end systems which haven’t changed in 40-50 years,” Deakin explained.
“Too many insurers are still using antiquated manual procedures involving surveyors, cameras, tape measures and lengthy transcription processes. Claims automation is about providing a single solution that manages a claim from first notice of loss through to assessment, and all the way through to the ultimate decision.”
CoreLogic is currently partnering with software company Symbility which provides these solutions to global insurers including QBE, AXA and Zurich, and allows them to cut legacy manual procedures from their claims processes.
“It works by providing customers with the tools to report their own claim,” said Deakin. “They can capture information about the claim at the point of loss, and the software provides video assessment tools which allow the claims consultant to immediately document the extent of the damage. There are different levels of damage, and the tools allow a claims assessor to gauge that very easily. That information is then available to everyone involved in a claim throughout the process.”
The software uses an inbuilt pricing database, which contains research on building costs, to automatically assess and estimate the value of a loss. Depending on the complexity of a claim, this can then lead to an on-the-spot cash settlement.
It can also go through an insurer’s network of builders and contractors and assign the most appropriate person given a claimant’s location, workload capacity and skills needed. Contractors have access to information relating to the type and level of damage, allowing appropriate resources to be allocated and keeping a lid on unnecessary costs to the insurer.
“Claims automation provides a solution to all the manual processing done at the moment,” said Deakin. “It provides the ability to self-report, and the ability for a customer to log into a portal and see the exact status of their claim; they’ll know exactly who is dealing with what, who is coming to fix any damage and when, and all those respective phone numbers will be readily available. At the moment there’s a lot of manual data handling, and that just introduces inefficiency and duplication.”
A cloud-based system will go a long way in streamlining communication between various different parties in a claim, said Deakin, and would offer a solution to a lot of the issues faced by Christchurch claimants.
“Rather than trying to put a piece of technology in place to replace an existing process, it allows us to step back and redesign the whole process with the customer, builder and assessor’s perspectives in mind,” he explains. “It allows you to find out exactly where the bottlenecks are location-wise, and it’s a huge opportunity to use the gathered data in resilience and planning for future events.”