Graham Newman, Product Marketing Manager, EMEA, FINEOS
I recently chaired a discussion panel session at The Insurance Network’s London Market Claims Conference at Dexter Court in London. The session focused on communications and processes in claims and how they can be improved. Communication has obviously always been a vital component of any service industry, so it’s equally obvious that a successful service industry such as insurance – and an exemplar of that kind – the London Market, will be excellent in this field, leaders no doubt, blazing a communications trail that other industries such as, oohh, I don’t know, suppliers of CDs and books over the internet, or delivery companies that have to hump all those big parcels around – could only dream of.
But I’m sure the industry could improve even on its current high standing, and I think that the excellent turnout for the discussion revealed that many in the industry shared that aspiration.
Communication in the wider world – and the processes that support it – has changed, I would suggest, significantly. There are many catalysts for that change but one of the leading must be expectations. Expectations have changed – driven by personal experience. Our private and personal lives inform and create our business expectations – and the levels of expectations for personal service in our private lives have never been higher – or been met in so many new and innovative ways. We take our expectations with us into work and it can be very frustrating when our business experience seems clunky and old-fashioned when compared to the simplicity and speed we are used to as consumers.
Many of the ways in which communications have changed, have of course, centred on technology. New technology is itself disruptive – the adoption and spread of new technologies is driven by a range of triggers and drivers. This is not just a case of a small elite of modern-day Alan Turings all coming up with some grand technological advances and these, on their own, being the catalyst for wide-ranging changes. The developmental changes we are seeing result from a range of triggers, some more connected than others but all having an effect on how technology will be used in the next few years.
Just look at how quickly the digital phenomenon is spreading and how it is influencing behaviours. One interesting way of looking at things can be found by seeing how long it has taken for various new technologies to be adopted by what we may loosely call “the general public”. We now take radios for granted but after its invention and general availability it took 38 years for 50 million users to have one. Television romped ahead, needing only 13 years to gain 50 million owners. In Britain the take up was given a massive boost by the televising of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953, one early example of how desirable content can drive take-up.
- The Internet spread to 50 million in only 4 years
- iPod – 3 years
- Facebook had marked its place in the hearts of 50 million individuals in just 2 years
- and the ubiquitous Smartphones needed a mere 12 months.
(Source: UN Millennium Report).
So, what are people doing with them? Well, pretty much everything: It is interesting to note that Britain leads the world in e-commerce. Yes, Britain has more e-commerce than even America or Japan or South Korea.
It is critical to remember that each of these devices is a platform for claims and insurance business interaction. All of these new devices can – and will – be used for insurance business; and the models of communication they give birth to will be used as the basis for interaction in commercial insurance.
When you are thinking about what you want to happen in the technology that supports insurance I can’t put it better than Alan Kay, the great American computer scientist who said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”.
Innovation in the use and applications of technology to improve customer service and improve communications is central is there to be created.
Tomorrow I’ll deal with the characteristics of good communications in the claims sphere.