Claims can make or break an insurance company’s reputation. If claims management, service, or outcomes consistently fall short of customer expectations, insurers will face an uphill struggle with regards to client retention and acquisition. The challenge is that customer expectations are always changing, which means that a strong claims service today could be deemed inadequate tomorrow. That’s why claims innovation is a top strategic priority for insurance organizations around the world.
There are opportunities for insurers to transform processes throughout the entire lifecycle of an insurance claim. Customers today expect to be able to report a claim 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and they want some sort of immediate response from their insurer – even an automated message acknowledging receipt of the claim – to confirm that proceedings have opened. They want multiple channels to report their claim, whether that’s through their agent or broker, over the phone, online, via a mobile app, or (in non-pandemic times) even in person. Throughout the lifecycle of a claim, they’re looking for constant communication, convenience, speed, and, perhaps most importantly, peace of mind that they are a priority and are being taken care of.
Insurers have access to digital tools that will help them to meet these expectations. Beyond using technology to enhance client communication throughout the claims process, many insurers have made significant progress in their use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to triage claims as they come in and use that tech-driven process to route claims to the appropriate teams, whether that’s complex claims teams or high-volume, low severity teams. That’s helping insurers to expedite the claims adjudication process and meet policyholders’ stringent demands around response times.
Technology, like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics also plays a vital support role in decision making in the claim adjudication process. Whether evaluating reserves, selecting third-party service providers or defense counsel, or considering intervention and settlement strategies, insurers can make use of use these tools to reach the best possible decision on each and every claim. They can also use the data collected via technology to enhance their risk management and loss control services – two elements of wider claim service that simply cannot be ignored. The use of technology like this is now table stakes for most insurers. Those who do not adopt these innovative strategies will quickly fall behind.
Claims innovation has arguably never been more important than in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the onset of the pandemic, insurance carriers around the world have adjusted to remote working. They’ve had to adapt their core IT functionality and business operations so that their teams could continue to provide high levels of service to policyholders and business partners. In the claims space, the big question revolved around whether a remote workforce could continue to perform the entire process of claim adjudication, handling and payment to the service levels expected by policyholders today. And the resounding answer to that question has been ‘yes’ – with the help of some facilitating tools and an innovative mindset.
Insurers have utilized virtual loss adjusting technology, enabling claimants to submit photos and videos of damages directly via their smartphones. More and more insurers are engaging with drone technology to facilitate outside site inspections and deal with acute loss accumulation after catastrophic weather events. And, in the healthcare space, there’s been a huge uptick in telemedicine and using video consultations to help injured workers. Those are just a few examples of how insurers have innovated in the claims space.
While insurers worldwide are doing some amazing things with regards to claims innovation, it’s important to remember the client at the center of the claim. Technology can only go so far in terms of enhancing the customer experience. When it comes to claims, the personal touch is key. At a time when policyholders’ lives or businesses are turned upside down, it is the insurers who can strike the right balance between innovation and the human touch that will achieve the best results.