Cutting claims times; transforming insurance: Markel


Cutting claims times; transforming insurance: Markel

Allison Elzer, senior director of risk solution services, Markel

With its new app launching in December, Markel says technology can transform claims, streamlining incident responses and the customer journey, Allison Elzer tells Intelligent Insurer.

Sometimes speed is of the essence. That’s certainly the case for claims—a key priority for insurers. In Intelligent Insurer’s 2021 Claims Survey, 91 percent of executives said boosting customers’ experience was a primary goal. More than six in 10 (61 percent) were also planning to invest in new technology to support claims.

Markel is among them. This month (December 2021), the Richmond, Virginia, headquartered re/insurer is launching its new technology tool—Markel Risk Connect: an app-based incident response tool. It is already available for download from the Apple and Google app stores.

According to the senior director of Risk Solution Services, Markel’s “loss control department”, Allison Elzer, it’s about much more than customer convenience. She sat down with Re/insurance Lounge, Intelligent Insurer’s online, on-demand content platform, to discuss how technology is transforming claims.

“We’re looking to streamline the process for our customers from the time an incident occurs.” Allison Elzer, Markel

First responders

As Elzer explained, while the app will make it easier to file a claim, its focus is primarily on incident response. That’s pivotal, given the app’s initially being rolled out in environmental lines.

“We’re looking to streamline the process for our customers from the time an incident occurs, such as a spill, to the time that information gets to the insurer and the time it takes to get a response to the site where it occurs,” she said.

For a tanker or factory that has a spill near a waterway, for example, the response time is critical to limiting the environmental damage (and subsequent claims). Insurers can help or hinder that process.

“You need to get the incident taken care of as quickly as possible, so you want to reduce the time it takes for somebody to go through the processes,” explained Elzer. “A lot of the time, insurance companies can hinder the process.”

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The Risk Connect app provides a single on-screen button that the driver or those on the factory floor can press to connect directly with Markel’s call centre to triage the response. It also has a GPS option to quickly identify where the incident occurs.

“We can pinpoint that and connect them with a local contractor able to clean up the spill,” she said. Users can have their spill plan saved on the application, too. A desktop version for management provides an overview to track incidents and claims across the organisation.

“It is a streamlined process from beginning to end with a lot of value, not only for the claims department but also for the administrative end of things for the client,” said Elzer. “It is the idea of having a comprehensive tool to manage all of the aspects of a claim when it comes to a spill or something similar.”

“Having that palm-of-your-hand opportunity to interact with your insurance company can revolutionise the industry.”

Wider applications

The scope of the technology is, in some respects, even broader than that, however. First, it goes beyond claims.

“We don’t only take care of the incident afterwards; we want to provide our clients with an opportunity to understand the risk before it occurs so that they can take steps to mitigate it,” explained Elzer.

The app provides access to a range of resources from spill response and control plans to help develop their processes to ideas for the “toolbox talks” that many contractors hold for workers each morning.

It also feeds into underwriting by capturing information on incidents and claims. According to Elzer, the Risk Solution Services team talks to external customers—brokers and insureds—as well as internal customers: the underwriting team.

“Our internal underwriting customers truly benefit from the work we do to help develop a better understanding of the risks we write,” she said.

It goes beyond environmental lines. Markel is already planning to roll Risk Connect out to construction, and other lines will likely follow.

“If you’re working in cyber, there’s the opportunity to use your phone to take a picture of a ransomware warning and send it in; or if you’re thinking about products, it could be used for product recalls,” said Elzer. In the longer term, such technology could transform how specialty risks are handled.

“Having that palm-of-your-hand opportunity to interact with your insurance company can revolutionise the industry. You’re able to take the lag time from days or weeks to minutes,” she concluded.


To view the full Re/insurance Lounge interview click here

Markel, Technology, Claims, Risk Solutions, Cyber, Insurance, Reinsurance, Allison Elzer, North America

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