Catastrophe claims handling is a tough process, and making it as smooth and painless as possible has never been more vital – and according to one expert, the key to this is only partly good technology.
Crawford & Co’s head of strategic partnerships Mathew Crawford will be speaking at this year’s ClaimsTech event in Auckland where he will discuss strategies for managing catastrophic events, and where technology can come in to assist. However, he says that when it comes to a claims response, the first and most important thing for an insurer to do is not necessarily to get on to the ground as soon as possible.
“When a catastrophe occurs, the first thing insurers need to do is to quickly identify the big picture – is it going to be a major event for us, or is it a minor blip?” Hessian explained. “Understanding that with enough rigor to be reliable is the biggest challenge from day one.
“Understanding the extent of the event is important in order to manage your resources, and to make sure you can respond to your customer needs quickly,” he continued. “It is also important to understand what it means for your balance sheet, and to manage stakeholder expectations.”
Hessian says insurers then need to be able to quickly prioritise their workload, as it’s not possible to do everything on day one. This is the time to think about who your most vulnerable clients are, whether you have any VIP clients, and how they can ensure that those at the “back of the queue” still feel like they’re being dealt with.
“Insurers need to know how to avoid those customers feeling like their voice doesn’t count, or that they’re not being looked after,” Hessian said.
“All of this comes back to the biggest and centremost challenge, which is understanding the scale of the event from the get-go. Some insurers react too quickly in terms of getting feet on the ground without actually stepping back and understanding what the complexities are, and responding based on that.”
“What has really changed over the years is customer expectation,” he added.
“They don’t expect to sit quietly for six weeks and wait for an assessor to knock on their door. Whether the event affected 1,000 people or 30,000 people, everyone wants to know what’s happening and have a higher level of communication.
“You’ve really got to understand the problem, and think about the technology that can help you do that. Online access to claims records, mass communication, social media – all of those things are a vital part of helping communicate an insurer’s response on an event.”
To hear more from Mathew at the Insurance Business Tech Fest, click here.