By Graham Newman, European Product Marketing Manager, FINEOS
I recently chaired a discussion at TINtech on the subject of Claims Transformation, with an emphasis on how technology can contribute to and support it. In my previous blog, I talked about the need to use the strategic value of claims to:
- improve customer service
- enhance retention
- increase profitability.
To achieve this, I see a number of defined challenges. This list is by no means exhaustive, I’m sure there will be many more and I would be very pleased to hear what your top ones are.
1. Can the Insurance industry embrace new technology for the right reasons?
Can it choose the right technology and extract value from it without compromising its service levels and unique differentiators? This too is critical. We expect that new technology will improve things, make it easier to do what was once time-consuming or tedious, but insurers have developed some specific qualities of service that differentiate them and provide value. New technology must reinforce, not replace the personal touch, must accommodate the personal nature of dealing with claimants and strengthen it.
There are many services and improvements that claimants want, and probably quite a few they don’t even know about yet. But be aware, new needs and demands are coming to life all the time.
2. More effective and timely communication
I have written on this topic before and I am certain this area is ripe for change. Technology itself has changed the way in which we can communicate by giving us more channels and a different sense of immediacy. New forms of social technology have generated different expectations for communication, not just around speed, but also in collaboration.
3. Increasing efficiency
Cost of doing business is like ground elder to a gardener. No matter how many times you think you’ve dealt with it – up it comes again. Better technology can bestow better, faster and more reliable processes, real-time monitoring and automation. But improving efficiency, especially through clever uses of technology, must enhance not reduce the customer experience.
4. Gaining better insight
Claims processes should create store and manage huge amounts of useful data – good claims management systems will do that. But the real benefit only comes when you can interrogate, categorise and analyse that data. I’d like to know where people think the interesting gains are to be made from Predictive Analytics.
Better insight can also complete the feedback loop to the start of the process and lead to . . .
5. Better risk assessment and pricing.
The right product for the right price has got to be a foundation of increased profitability. A better understanding of claims can be a great boost to more accurate risk assessment and therefore pricing. This is obvious, but I wonder how often it is done – and done rigorously.
6. More advice and guidance in the claim
As businesses become more complex and inter-dependent, recovering from a loss and resuming normal activity can become more difficult and involve more and more services and interested parties. Experienced claims departments can provide assistance with services and dealing with business interruption – finding replacements, understanding when to repair and when to replace, helping the client to access available services and also assistance with cash flow.
For the individual this could be the first time, perhaps the only time they will have a claim. They are not experts; they are in need, perhaps in distress. They could do with restitution, not just compensation.
7. Better Technology
Well, this is inevitable really. We continually have to do things faster, more accurately, and more effectively, and good technology will always be at the heart of this. Real innovation will come when technology is used to create a different kind of advantage, not just doing the same things faster, or more reliably, but by being able to see where new technology helps us to do things in fresh ways that may not have been thought of even by the creators of the technology.
We don’t always know what we will find useful until someone else does it and we see how useful it is, what we might call the “Sony Walkman advance”. The CEO of Sony famously responded to a question about how he came up with the idea by saying that he certainly didn’t ask people what they wanted; if he had he would never have invented the Walkman because nobody had the concept until he did.
Part of the purpose of a session such as this is to attempt to predict the future. Danish physicist Niels Bohr once said, “Prediction is difficult, especially about the future”, but although the technology available to the market in general, and claims, has been advancing rapidly in recent years I’d say there’s one prediction that is likely to hold true and it’s that the technology that supports claims is likely to advance even rapidly more in the coming years.