Recent shifts in the workforce and technologies have enabled a rethinking of the claims process. Recently, I was fortunate to participate in a discussion with Karen Furtado, an analyst at Strategy Meets Action, and Alex Williams, vice president of technology product management at ESIS, on how people, process and technology are transforming claims.
According to Furtado, despite unforeseen circumstances, research shows insurers are rallying to position themselves to be digital, centered on the need to improve customer experience and facilitate digitally enhanced interactions. However, as Furtado explained, it took many in the industry until March to comprehend what this truly meant.
SMA’s Market Pulse research shows that P&C insurers are largely staying the course on technology plans and investments for 2020. Furthermore, 28% of personal line insurers aren’t just sticking to digital transformation plans, they’re fast-tracking them.
As in many other businesses, we’ve seemed to accelerate digital transformation by years in just months. For insurance, that meant reimagining and reshaping how technology supports the people and processes that make the industry tick.
The pandemic has put the need to reach people when and how they want to be reached under a microscope. This pressure was already driving digital developments to the claims process and has only heightened since.
Simplifying customer experience is where a lot of digital efforts are trending. For insurers, this can be accomplished by enabling choice. Insurers are continuing to find ways to quickly and efficiently facilitate choice by working closely with solution partners and technology providers to build capabilities and integrate them into claims.
Whether it’s means of communication (text, voice, email, chat) or means of submitting information for a claim (images, forms, reports), choice can transform the claims experience – and, subsequently, offer a better understanding of individual customer preferences.
To be truly transformational, insurers are also rethinking how products get to market, are serviced and are updated. What has resulted is a simplification of portfolios and a rethinking of how technology can facilitate processes.
Where can we lean on technology to facilitate straight-through processing? How can we implement machine learning to learn from pictures and capture data at speed? Where can predictive models support humans by suggesting actions on a claim so efforts can be focused on specialized cases?
By reorienting thinking on the role and purpose of technology and what it means for the speed and efficiency of processes, organizations will find that the tools they implement will be better suited to their needs. This will result in an infusion of technology that truly empowers people, businesses and the industry for the better.
In the midst of this transformation, there is a need to be prepared to navigate the constantly changing and evolving insurance industry. One of the many places insurers turned to achieve flexibility was by migrating to the cloud. A strong backbone built on software as a service (SaaS) is what gives insurers the power to incrementally innovate when the time is right, and as the market dictates, without a complete overhaul. It also gives insurers the ability to share the heavy lifting of platform updates, security and app development with vendors and partners whose expertise falls within these areas.
What does this mean for technology roadmaps? It allows organizations to remain flexible and modify as needed or dictated, encouraging a culture of constant, incremental evolution. Not only does it offer greater opportunities to scale, but it also better enables shifts or changes when opportunities are presented or demanded.
Over time, we’ll reflect on how early 2020 changed the insurance industry. In the near term, the renewed vigor around digital transformation focused on customer experience, simplicity and flexibility could very well be here to stay.
Sasha Korol is the principal product manager for the Duck Creek Claims product. She defines R&D initiatives for Duck Creek Claims and works with industry analysts and technology vendors to bring the latest technology to the P&C claims space.