Claims and unstructured data: 3 opportunities for today and tomorrow

The property/casualty claims area is in the early stages of massive technology-driven transformation. Every aspect of claims is likely to change, including the tools that adjusters and claims professionals have at their disposal, the roles of these individuals, the participants in the claims ecosystem and even the nature and timing of the claims response.

The insurance industry will still fundamentally provide indemnity from loss when bad things happen. But insurers will increasingly combine their risk management expertise with real-time data from sensors and devices related to the things that are insured.

This has big implications for claims, since many new participants will be involved in connected-world ecosystems, and proactive responses to mitigate loss will increase. Central to great claims results is the data supporting the structured transactions for the systems of record. But insurers are also beginning to rely on unstructured data to assist in the claims process.

Opportunity ahead

There are three important aspects of unstructured data that create opportunities in claims for both today and tomorrow. They are:

1. Digital capture and creation

Easy ingestion of real-time digital content in all formats is increasingly important. More insurers are offering mobile first notice of loss capabilities for customers, including the capture of images, video, audio and textual descriptions of an accident or incident.

Moreover, customers and adjusters may be collecting additional multi-media content throughout the claims process.

On the outbound side, insurers must be able to create various digital communications for policyholders, claimants, agents, service providers, law enforcement and other parties involved in the claims process. Letters, text messages, emails and other types of communications must be created with accurate, current and personalized information, and delivered via the channel and device preferred by the receiver.

Most importantly, insurers must manage all of the inbound and outbound digital content in context, through integrations with other relevant processes and systems.

2. Workflow integration

Efficiently and effectively orchestrating workflows is essential in order to streamline the claims process as much as feasible, shorten the time to settlement and improve the productivity of the claims professionals.

One of the biggest deterrents to productivity today is when adjusters need to log into and out of multiple systems and flip windows back and forth to support their natural work processes. Often this is the case when insurers coordinate the claims admin systems (which tend to be structured data and sequential-process oriented) with systems for damage assessment, fraud, litigation, subrogation and other processes which may require a greater volume and variety of unstructured data and may be less sequential in nature.

As claims environments and related unstructured data become even more complex over time, insurers have an even greater need to integrate workflows so claims professionals can operate via a unified view of their workloads, tasks and processes. Even today, having a unified view can deliver significant productivity enhancements and reduce the time to settlement, which can have a very positive impact on loss and the customer experience.

3. Content management

The ability to manage all the unstructured digital content you capture or create is more important than ever. This goes far beyond storing content in a repository and being able to search/discover data.

Managing versions, authorized access, audit trails, compliance, records management, archiving and other capabilities remain important and must be done cost-effectively and in a timely manner. Security has always been important, but in the world of increasing digital data and major cyber-breaches, it is necessary to raise security to new levels.

On top of all this remains the ultimate test of data – how you can utilize it to make better decisions and provide the best service possible.

Ready for the future

Unstructured content generated from aerial imagery, mobile devices, customer interactions, social media and many other sources holds the key to capitalizing on new opportunities in claims management both today and into the future. Insurers should ensure they have a modern content services platform that supports the increasing opportunities for differentiation in claims.

To learn more on how to use unstructured data to your advantage, download SMA’s whitepaper P&C claims and digital content services.

Mark Breading

Mark Breading

Mark Breading is a partner at Strategy Meets Action. Mark is a recognized expert in advanced technologies and their implications for the insurance industry. He has exceptional knowledge of the customer experience, analytics, digital content management, and maturing and emerging technologies. You can follow him at @BreadingSMA on Twitter.

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