As customer expectations change, the way you process claims should too. Here’s how to fix what’s broken.
For your customers, claims processing is what insurance is all about. It’s a key touch point in the customer life cycle, at a crucial time when they truly need you. Customers expect an efficient, quick and user-friendly response to their claims. And today, they also expect the process to be fully digital and as zero-touch as possible.
Many firms in the insurance industry struggle to meet these consumer expectations due to the fact that processes are still overwhelmingly manual. Whether the process is to fill out a claim form, obtain a damage assessment, or submit a police report, insurance processes still lag behind other industries in terms of digital adoption and the ability to complete tasks without a burdensome paper trail.
Claims processing challenges
There are a number of challenges experienced across the industry, irrespective of the category of insurance (automotive, homeowners, professional indemnity etc.). The impact of these challenges reduce the overall efficiency of claims operation processes, resulting in:
Lengthy claims processing. This is a critical factor in terms of client experience, cost to the organization and controlling risks of litigation and dispute. Long and convoluted claims processing, especially for simple and straightforward claims, equals more organizational resources expended and more unhappy clients.
No customer self-service. All too frequently, highly-skilled service agents have to field multiple calls every day, answering basic questions on claim status and relaying repetitive information. This information could be made accessible to customers and conveyed more efficiently in other ways that do not occupy the time of live service agents.
Reliance on outsourced processing. Partial or complete dependence on outsourcing for claims processing can interrupt processing workflow, raise overhead and consume considerable time. This frequently interrupts the processing flow and can lower overall processing efficiency.
Reliance on outsourced assessments. Insurance companies often outsource both inbound and outbound data gathering, inspections and estimates. By doing so, they essentially forfeit control over the quality of the customer experience.
Related: Assessing technology’s impact on insurance claims
These challenges have become an ingrained part of system processes and are increasingly difficult to remedy. One solution that has the means to systematically create an effective impact is a transformation to digital processes. A move from manual to digital enables insurance companies to operate dynamically, where they can address business requirements whilst simultaneously meeting customer expectations.
A number of digital solutions have therefore been developed that address these specific challenges currently experienced in the insurance industry. Here are the top three:
Self-Service Tools. Advanced self-service solutions enable customers to view claim data, status or information directly. As a majority of calls are requests for generalized or account information, digital self-service tools greatly expedite service resolution and ultimately customer satisfaction.
Collaborative Solutions. With collaborative technology, customers and adjusters can share and view images or digital content together, dramatically expediting the claim process as it cuts out significant back and forth time. Furthermore, this collaborative solution reduces the dependency on an outsourced inspector as agents are now equipped to analyze complex situations more thoroughly, enabling expedited claims to be processed internally.
Digital Documents. Available either in self-service or as a collaborative tool, a dynamic digital form, for example, enables customers to complete claims quickly and efficiently. Customers are able to initiate a first notice of loss, potentially at the scene of an accident, where a significant amount of reliable data can be provided. Digital documents also reduce the dependency on external third-party evaluation or data gathering. This dramatically shortens the claims process as customers can complete more of the claim independently, while insurance companies gain greater control over the process.
Clearly, the transition to digital changes the claims processing equation. Self-service tools empower companies to resolve the simple inquiries that currently occupy too much agent bandwidth, leaving skilled personnel more time to address complex calls. Where self-service isn’t sufficient, collaboration tools can expedite the claim process.
Moreover, the combination of collaboration tools and smart digital forms can lower dependence on outsourcing for claims processing. Agents can assess claims more efficiently based on the greater quantity and better quality of data that customers can provide, giving insurance companies greater control over the process.
The bottom line
To a large extent, customers only contact insurance companies when a claim is being submitted – and at that time contact is intense and frequent. The implications for operations management can be dramatic, as the workload for both personnel and resources fluctuates dramatically during this process.
Converting to fully-digital solutions helps insurance companies stabilize the impact of claims processing, while enabling customers to achieve self-service resolution, or at least collaborate efficiently and effectively in more intense cases. The outcome is expedited resolutions of claims and more satisfied customers.
Ori Faran, founder and CEO of CallVu, is responsible for steering the company’s people, product vision and projects. Faran’s experience includes a deep understanding of the customer journey and product deployment within global enterprise companies. Faran can be contacted at [email protected]