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Optimizing Customer Experiences & Technology ROI in Insurance

Insurance providers, particularly in the property and casualty sector, are under the same pressures as other businesses:  They need to speed up cycle times in handling claims, cut expenses, and improve customer experiences.

Some providers who originated in the tech world are already well-adapted to keep pace with the changes being pressed on the industry.  For traditional insurance providers clinging to traditional processes and approaches, like paper-based documentation and workflows?  That’s inevitably a losing proposition.

Many P&C insurance providers have been slow to react to the need for change; others have been more aggressive, and have positioned themselves to deliver against key customer expectations:

  • For accuracy and precision in the service they receive, with a high degree of personalization mixed in.  Human error in traditional, manual processes makes this difficult, if not impossible.
  • For speed in claims handling or other processes, since they’re used to quick responses from banks and other service providers who’ve embraced process automation and other technologies.
  • For access and availability, since they’re now used to being able to access goods and services from any device, any time, anywhere.
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In insurance, process automation is becoming a mandate

It was forecast not so long ago that process automation would gain traction in the insurance industry as it has elsewhere.  As one Deloitte report put it, “Insurance companies are often perceived as being conservative in their approach and slower to embrace changes. Unfortunately, such inertia is no longer a viable option.”

The impacts of COVID-19 have forcibly driven change for many industries, including financial services, and especially insurance. The sudden pivot to remote workforces, the need to find efficiencies and slash costs, have opened a lot of eyes to the ways existing tools can drive evolution of tools and processes that pays off in better customer experiences and, as importantly, Business Continuity Transformation™ that can buttress an organization against future shocks.

As in other sectors, there’s now a rush of investment into technology designed for the insurance industry.  But anyone who’s been paying attention would know that new tech and new ideas can pay off big even for a seemingly conservative industry like insurance.  As our Steven O’Donnell wrote of his time at Progressive, the company quadrupled in size during those 15 years, largely due to innovations like being one of the first providers to allow direct online policy purchases.

Accelerating and optimizing a key process

Here’s a single example of how one solution, process automation, can transform the customer experience a P&C insurer delivers within a key process, and produce plenty of other benefits, too.

It’s plain to see that fast, efficient claims processing is a key ingredient of success for an insurance provider.  But it can also be a highly manual, time-consuming process, one that’s an almost cliché source of frustration for customers and the insurers trying to service them. Agents need to collect and check information from a variety of sources: Medical reports and certificates (if there’s an injury, health, or life policy claim), photos of damaged vehicles or personal property, police reports, or whatever else is salient to the claim.

Human error can compound the time it takes to process that claim, too.  Erroneous financial data or customer information can be involved, or lost documents.  The delays can stack up nearly as high as the paperwork involved.

By automating the claims process, including intake, assessment, and settlement, these errors and delays – and their associated costs – are reduced or altogether eliminated.   Online self-guiding forms with embedded business intelligence ensure that claims submissions are complete and error-free, and that they’re routed to an agent or adjuster as needed. In some cases, depending on the parameters set by the insurer, a claim might never see human intervention.

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Invest in technology, not obsolescence

It’s time for hidebound insurance providers to lay outmoded processes and methodologies to rest.  Of course, with all the technology investment mentioned earlier, there’s always the chance they may substitute an attractive solution that’s unfortunately not right for their needs, or will be destined for premature obsolescence for any number of reasons – poor design, inadequate support, unexpected sunsetting by its provider, and so on.

If the durability and reliability of your tech investment’s ROI is a concern? Check out the advice Jeffrey Marple, Director of Innovation, Corporate Legal at Liberty Mutual Insurance had to share on this at a recent webinar, 5 Top Ways to Future-Proof Your Legal Technology Stack.