Balancing Technology and Touch: It's About the Relationship

Review of Kevin McCarthy’s Keynote at the FINEOS Claims Global Summit 2013

Fergal Heffernan, Customer Engagement Manager, FINEOS

We were delighted to have Kevin McCarthy speak as one of our keynote presenters on the opening day of the FINEOS Claims Global Summit 2013 in Toronto, Canada.

Kevin is COO at the Unum Group and to have him speak about his thoughts on Claims Management was a treat for our attendees.  Of course, he didn’t disappoint.

Kevins’ presentation was titled “Balancing Technology and Touch; It’s about the Relationship”. In it he focussed on two key areas of the Insurance operation:

  1. Insurers having a tangible response to new technology
  2. The regulatory environment

The key message from Kevin was that the customer wants simplicity. The challenge for Insurers is how to apply great technology to enable this simplicity and not about just simply having the technology at their disposal.

At Unum, they listened to their customers and that helped them strike the perfect balance between the use of technology and the human touch. For example, they found that although 75% of the customers wanted to have a self-service option when dealing with Unum, there was an overpowering desire for customers to deal with a person on the phone when discussing more sensitive information.

The role for technology is to allow handlers have more time to have more human contact and be proactive in the service that they provide. As Kevin put it “Technology should enhance and not replace the human touch”.

Furthermore, as we, as an industry, become more technical and have more options available to us, the more the human touch matters. How we apply technology to enable this is the key to success.

Kevin explained that they used this same principle when interacting with the regulator. They embraced the challenges of the various regulation demands, help to understand the objectives of the regulator which made meeting these demands a smoother process. Again, technology underpinning the solutions but very much in the context of using the power of human contact.

Kevin’s presentation ended with two video clips of real life disability claimants speaking about their experience at Unum. It was a reminder of what is at stake when we are managing real people’s lives at a time of great fear and uncertainty for them. The difference for these victims was the reliability of the service provided by Unum coupled with the personal care shown by the handlers – Kevin’s message was well made.

You may also be interested in