Get your claims processing ready for the future, now

Recently, I wrote about the claims process of the future. I talked about what life will be like for insurers and insureds in the 22nd century.

Today, rather than focus on what claims processing will look like in the future, we’re going to talk about how you can lay the groundwork for your organisation to get there. We’re going to focus on how you can start preparing to deliver more value to your customers – in the here and now.

Claims will always begin and end with the customer

As technology advances and today’s wearables become de rigueur, insureds expect a near-immediate connection to their providers, especially when they need you the most – when the unexpected happens. These increasing customer expectations are driving the need for an engaged communication model.

In this evolving environment, insurers who can provide a close connection with policyholders will gain a competitive edge over their peers. That edge comes less from quickly answering standard questions on claim statuses. Instead, it comes more from the ability to constantly engage with the insured in an informed manner.

Satisfaction surveys in claims consistently show that customers desire a fast and intuitive process as well as transparency on where they are in the process and what happens next.

– McKinsey

In fact, technology should both delight customers and draw on customer feedback, says McKinsey in its report Claims in the digital age: How insurers can get started.

This two-way street allows insurers to swiftly improve service offerings as well as act on any snags in usability and tech performance. To get there, though, means taking a hard look at legacy technology and committing to investments in new technologies – the meat and bones of digital transformation.

Satisfying the insured means adapting to new technologies

Here’s where we move toward InsurTech and address the growing market for wearables and mobile apps. Tech-savvy insurers understand the data the Internet of Things collects – along with the way they can analyse that data – enables better decisions and a faster claims process.

Here’s where we move toward InsurTech and address the growing market for wearables and mobile apps. Tech-savvy insurers understand the data the Internet of Things collects – along with the way they can analyse that data – enables better decisions and a faster claims process.

To get there, insurers must do more than enable adjusters with easy-to-access information. They must reduce manual steps in the claims process to expedite decisions and eliminate tedious tasks for skilled adjusters.

A true digital claims processing solution automates each step of the process, from claims prevention to FNOL, claims management, loss assessment and repair – even settlement. Yes, insurers are moving toward a model that allows claims payout without an adjuster’s personal approval. That means claims resolution in hours, rather than days and weeks.

Maybe even faster than that. The digital renters and homeowners’ insurer, Lemonade, does this through a chatbot-based FNOL system that can payout a claim in seconds!

Three elements allow this to happen, according to McKinsey’s report:

  1. Artificial intelligence and digital technologies
  2. A “new digital operating model”
  3. An integrated digital claims ecosystem

Artificial intelligence, as a quick example, can analyse and identify the best path for a customer’s claim, possibly even encouraging the insured to set an appointment with an approved repair shop, speeding the overall process.

Taking it a step further by integrating core claims systems with the right content services solution, your organization provides the technology and tools the claims team needs to quickly, efficiently and securely manage claims.

It all comes back to effective communication with the customer

Many of these emerging technologies open up new dimensions of claims management that will enable the insurer and the insured to interact in dramatically different ways prior to and throughout the claims process, says Gartner in its report Claims transformation is elevating the role of the digital customer.

In addition to providing new and faster FNOL options, says the report, insurers are aggressively exploring opportunities to involve the consumer in other aspects of the claims process, such as inspection and estimation of damage. For example, adjusters can remotely view data and imagery collected by consumers on their mobile devices, speeding the estimation process drastically.

To adjust a claim properly, adjusters must have access to all the information that relates to both the incident and the insured. That comes from conversations with the insured – both traditionally and digitally – through email, text, social media or chat. They may even gather information from various sources, such as the sensors and wearables mentioned above.

As long as this information is housed in a central database, properly identified and appropriately tied to the insured’s case, all parties can easily access what they need to move the claim along – if they need to get involved at all.

In this new dynamic, simple, routine transactions are shifted to handlers and intermediaries. Some may wind up in the customer’s hands, as well, according to McKinsey. In the future, customers may never speak with an adjuster at all, but work within a self-service portal that pays out their claim the same day.

Still, communication and customer experience rules the day. Today’s insurers have inconsistent levels of service across multiple channels. Most companies do not have a single view of the customer, and the only contact is at the time of claim or renewal.

A complete view of the customer must be included in the automated claims process – and not in the future, but now. After all, customers don’t want to provide the same information over and over again. No one does. That’s why you should consider claims the key customer touch point.

In the future, insurers will leverage the growing number of digital channels and platform ecosystems to provide a complete view of the customer while enabling them to be more active in the claims process. The choice is easy: Embrace new technologies and deliver next-century service, or be left behind in the past.

Cara McFarlane

Cara McFarlane

Cara McFarlane is Hyland’s sales enablement solution marketing manager. Her mission is to effectively position Hyland as the leading content services platform within financial services, insurance, government, higher education, and... read more about: Cara McFarlane