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FINEOS Claims Global Summit Daily Update

Graham Newman, European Product Marketing Manager, FINEOS

The fifth annual FINEOS Claims Global Summit got under way yesterday in the warm and welcoming environs of a San Francisco autumn, or “fall” as it is better known here, not that many leaves are falling here in California just yet.  San Francisco’s warm and sunny disposition makes for a perfect backdrop to what promises to be an exciting and informative conference.  This event has become a notable fixture in the conference year for many claims executives and this year’s assembly of speakers and debates will surely not disappoint.

This event has already broken its own records. Attendance is up 45% over  last year, and attendees are drawn from the senior ranks of insurance and claims executives, many making long journeys to attend.  Both the north and south hemispheres are well represented here in California with insurance executives from all over America, from Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa making the long trip to attend and hear from their peers and from FINEOS about the latest thinking in claims and developments in claims technology.  This is a truly global conference and the sheer spread of attendance is testimony to its universal relevance and appeal.  The rise in interest is surely a reflection of the growing recognition of the contribution a first-class claims operation makes to an insurer’s brand value, its retention rates and to its ultimate success.

The sessions for this year’s conference all relate to the theme of “Transformational Claims Initiatives” reflecting the growing interest in the wider claims arena of claims analytics, social media, mobile and portal access.  Each session falls into one of the three main categories:

  • industry thought leadership
  • customer case studies
  • FINEOS-led educational and update sessions.

In addition to the thought leadership the conference showcases updates on the FINEOS product and has some very focused breakout sessions to help customers better realise the value of the FINEOS claims product and the associated professional services.

Tuesday October 11 2011

FINEOS Chief Executive Michael Kelly got the main conference off to a great start this morning with a welcome address picking out predominant themes in the industry and relating them to the sessions in the forthcoming conference.

Michael lost little time in drawing attention to the elephant in the room, namely the continuing global financial crisis and the challenges it is bringing daily to the global economic environment. However he also referred to recent evidence from major Analysts that investment in IT remains strong and, in some senses, is bucking the trend.  There is also a clear emphasis within IT spend on improving the claims experience for insurance customers.  Michael drew attention to the comparative strength in investment in projects related to claims in the North American market.  It will be welcome news to hard pressed claims executives that there is good evidence that insurers are predicted to increase IT spend on claims capability and replacement claims systems.

As all good companies do, FINEOS continues to evolve and adapt to the changing business environment.  Michael spoke about the Five Year Strategic Plan FINEOS has developed to take it and its customers through and beyond the current economic issues.  FINEOS is taking its lead directly from the market, its needs and priorities; focusing its solutions where they will bring the best value to its customers.

Many insurers and industry commentators these days are concerned about how new technologies will change the way they interact with their customers and manage their claims.  FINEOS has been making considerable investment in developing capabilities around new ideas including deeper and more useful analytics and mobile applications.  All this effort is driven primarily by what our customers tell us are the important issues for them.

“The Power of Belief” – Psychosocial Influences on Disability, Illness and Rehabilitation

Our Keynote speech today was from Professor Sir Mansel Aylward.  I’ve heard Professor Sir Mansel speak before in London on similar related topics and I was struck then, as I was today, by the relevance of his points and the depth of his insights.  It’s something of a coup to have a person as distinguished as this for our first keynote speaker and I am sure the audience got maximum benefit from his speech.

He has had a formidable career and is Director of the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research at Cardiff University.  He is also the first-ever Chair of Public Health Wales – a new unified National Health Service Trust responsible for the delivery of public health services at national, local and community level in Wales.  Prior to that, from 1996 to 2005, he was Chief Medical Advisor, Medical Director and Chief Scientist at the Department for Work and Pensions, and Chief Medical Adviser and Head of Profession at the Veterans Agency, Ministry of Defence.  It was particularly gratifying to have a blend of both academic research and knowledge combined with real-life, front-line experience.

He drew upon his extensive knowledge and understanding of the psychosocial, economic and cultural factors that influence health, illness, recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration to explore the risks of ‘worklessness’ and harmful effects of long-term unemployment or prolonged illness absence from work. Whether an organisation is a Life, Disability, Workers’ Compensation, Property and Casualty or Government insurer, the value of proactively managing an individual back to a productive work status is highly important.

Broad international experience shows that there are already insurers who spend time and effort on getting their claimants back to work with innovative and imaginative programmes where they institute a plan of care, monitor progress and suggest better or alternative treatments where that progress is wanting; where they propose alternative jobs or careers when return to the original may simply no longer be possible and suggest suitable training programmes.  Some I know assist even with writing CVs and job applications.  This not only makes economic sense, always a good recommendation in the insurance industry, as a claimant off work for more than two years is likely to be always off work – but it fulfills that other – really quite special purpose of the insurance industry – that of the role it plays in bettering the social fabric of our advanced society.  An ethical and thoughtful insurance industry is essential for providing the stability that people need in order to run their lives, their jobs and their businesses.  As the industry evolves through the 21st. century it will surely find new and better ways to provide that stability and security.

2011 FINEOS Innovation and Excellence Awards

Michael Kelly and Ian Lynagh, the global Sales Director, presented the FINEOS industry awards for Innovation and Excellence.  First up was Assurant Employee Benefits.  Assurant Employee Benefits is based in Kansas City, Missouri and provides, among other things, group disability insurance and it prides itself on its commitment to returning people to work.   Karen Kelly and Chuck Evans accepted the award from Michael.

Then we had Denise Cosgrove who accepted the second award for ACC, the Accident Compensation Corporation of New Zealand.  For those of you not familiar with them the ACC provides comprehensive, no-fault personal injury cover for all New Zealand residents and visitors to New Zealand.

FINEOS neighbouring local talent, FBD of Ireland came next.  FBD is one of Ireland’s largest insurers and has a market-leading offering in protection for car, home and business insurance.  Michael Whelehan stepped up to the stage to receive the reward on behalf of FBD.

In addition to these awards, there was also an Honorable Mention award for RAF, the government body that operates South Africa’s compensation programme for people injured in road accidents or the dependants of people killed in accidents by negligent drivers.

Awards such as these help to highlight the importance of the powerful social role that leading insurers play in the modern world.  Without such protection and compensation we would be in a much more uncertain and dangerous place, and uncertainty is not only personally uncomfortable but it doesn’t bode well for the stability of society.  The industry we in FINEOS serve itself serves the greater good, and it is refreshing from time to time to remember just what sterling work many companies and the individuals within those companies actually do.

After he presented the last award Michael said: “I’d like to congratulate our very deserving winners. Through their vision, dedication and hard work, they have leveraged the power of FINEOS Claims to achieve business success in their own organisations. Tellingly each organisation had its own particular range of challenges and requirements in terms of size, geography and line of business – yet FINEOS Claims was flexible enough to meet all these needs successfully. We wish our winners continued success and look forward to working with them to achieve even greater business results from their claims solution”.

The rest of the day’s sessions were led by various leaders in the FINEOS Product and Professional Services organisations. These sessions provided updates on the latest product and service offerings as well as plans for the future. Customer feedback on these sessions has been outstanding.

More to come on Wednesday!