Fully digitising claims to deliver personalised and real time customer experiences will, crucially, bring the whole claims process 'into the modern world', argue insurance industry experts.
Taking digitisation beyond first notice of loss and balancing the digital requirements of all customers were two of the hot topics discussed during the Claims Innovation Virtual Event, organised by Intelligent Insurer in October.
“How to go beyond the first notice of loss (FNOL) is really the key. So much of the cost and process of working through a claim is after the FNOL,” said Martha Frye, senior vice president, property and casualty personal lines claims, Nationwide.
She added: “We’ve heard from our customers: they want to talk to someone at FNOL, to make sure we’ve got it and that they understand the process and what they should expect. Tackling all that occurs after FNOL is the place we’re trying to spend the bulk of our time and work on innovation.”
Nationwide will continue to focus on the use of photos, said Frye, adding that artificial intelligence (AI) is the future technology for this.
“Getting great photos upfront is something that absolutely can be done. But taking those photos and turning it into a process that’s easy for the customer to manage and streamlines the whole experience is the vital part,” she added.
Frye was speaking during the panel session, “Achieve Digital Claims: Harness Tech to Deliver Personalised and Real-Time Customer Support”, on October 28, during the first-ever Claims Innovation Virtual Event.
Robin Roberson, president and co-founder of Goose & Gander and session moderator added: “It’s important to bring the rest of the claims process into the modern world.
“In my opinion, most insurtechs have chosen FNOL as a main ‘in’ and to digitise in that area, but if companies are only improving FNOL and the rest of the process is manual, most of the dollars are lost back and forth between adjusters.”
Young versus old
Younger generations are thought of as more digitally savvy and therefore easier to engage digitally in insurance than older generations. But, James Spears, head of automotive at Tractable, has found quite the opposite.
“Those folks who are older know much more about the insurance claims process. They already have trust in the carrier,” Spears said. “The younger generation have dual sessions. Not only will they go into the channel of self-reporting on the internet, they’re on the phone at the same time.”
Spears suggested that insurers should engage in the process of a “digital hug’’, which essentially says “we have your claim and we’re taking care of you”. He noted that insurers will see the three measures of speed, accuracy, and service soar when they’re able to do that.
An omnichannel approach
Customers expect seamless, omnichannel, real-time interactions but how can insurers balance the expectations of all of their customers and how can customers be guided on this digital journey?
“We talk to our customers about what they want out of omnichannel communication. They don’t want to have to repeat their story, and they want always to know what’s coming next and what they need to do,” explained Cat Reese, chief claims officer at Tower Hill Insurance.
“You have to be ready for everyone from the caveman to the spaceman in terms of customers,” she added.
As an example, Reese noted that in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, Tower Hill associates went out in person and set up catastrophe tents. Reese added that the company took out radio advertisements to make customers aware they were there and available.
Lori Pon, director of claims transformation and claim service centre at AAA, added that the “digital tool basket” for claims has come to the forefront this year. In recent years, AAA has implemented a mobile app and rolled out digital solutions to more than 950 users.
“We challenged ourselves when we put together the app to ensure that it was really customer-centric. We break down what can be complicated concepts into simple terms,” said Pon.
“In the fourth quarter, we’re planning to roll out a virtual payment process. If you prefer to interact with us digitally, we want to meet you where you want to be met.”
Pon added that when approaching technology solutions, AAA looks at it from the user’s and the customer’s perspectives. Essentially, she said, it’s about how the company makes its own team comfortable so they instil confidence in the customer.
Agreeing, Frye concluded: “In terms of encouraging them to stay in those digital channels, it has to be driven by the customers as much as possible, with great associates encouraging them to go into the channels and supporting them along the way.”
To watch the full panel session, titled “Achieve Digital Claims: Harness Tech to Deliver Personalized and Real Time Customer Support” on-demand click here.
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