The technology is already there to dramatically streamline the claims process, says Sean Baird, director, product marketing at Nuxeo—insurers just have to take advantage of them. With automation able to reduce the number of manual interactions required to support the claims process, carriers can now move with confidence towards a touchless experience, all while enhancing customer experience, he explains to Intelligent Insurer.
Insurers are at something of a crossroads. On one hand, they are looking for ways to engage more deeply with the customer, to build longer-lasting relationships that move beyond price and into value. But on the other, they are keen to find ways that help customers to self-serve.
“They want to know how they can add capabilities without losing a system they’ve spent a long time refining.” Sean Baird, Nuxeo
In doing so, they remove many of the customer’s traditional pain points associated with insurance—particularly during the claims process—in addition to reducing their own costs. How to resolve the tension between these two polarised goals?
The first thing to note is that these two aims are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Instead, it’s all about timing and context. Carriers need to identify the moments when their customers want to take control and those where a guiding hand is wanted. They have to find ways of being where the customer wants them, when they want them, offering choice while also reducing complexity.
The willingness to engage in this process is growing among carriers, but there are still hurdles, notably when it comes to making difficult decisions about legacy technologies. Intelligent Insurer caught up with Sean Baird, director of product marketing at Nuxeo, to find out how insurers can overcome these obstacles, delve deeper into valuable customer insights using innovative tech, and generate a more intuitive, seamless experience for customers and carriers alike.
This article is published ahead of the Intelligent Insurer webinar “Embrace Touchless and Virtual Claims to Resolve Customer Pain Points” on March 11, 2021.
How much has COVID-19 accelerated insurers’ drive towards touchless or virtual claims?
It has certainly forced companies to realise that they need to make changes to their processes, particularly in supporting changes to a now largely remote, distributed workforce. They need to be able to provide more virtual support insofar as being more self-sufficient and less reliant on physical claims inspections, for example.
A lot of companies have used this situation to explore what’s possible. There’s certainly been an acceleration of insurers who now tick the virtual support capability at least at a basic level.
But, we’d emphasise that just having systems that help a remote workforce work effectively doesn’t qualify the organisation as providing virtual claims. That is about getting rid of inefficiencies that rely on physical inspection, documents and replacing manual steps with automation. Here, insurers have made some progress but not as much as they could.
One of the other things COVID-19 impacted was the value employees gained when they were working in the same office as their colleagues. When they have a question about a claim they could collaborate physically and doing that remotely becomes challenging. You need to somehow build that experience garnered through physical togetherness into the virtual system so employees still have access to that resource.
What are insurers’ biggest technology concerns when it comes to providing virtual claims?
There is concern about the time and cost it would take to implement technologies—in particular, where companies have significant investment in their existing systems, how quickly could they transition, and could they do it without losing intellectual property that has been acquired over decades?
Nor do they want to lose critical information that may be needed for future decision-making. Essentially, they want to know how they can add capabilities without losing a system they’ve spent a long time refining.
One of the things we’ve talked about extensively with our customers is around those who have been rapidly acquiring smaller insurance companies to build their businesses to become significant players. They struggle with all the systems and technologies that come with those acquisitions.
Existing systems need to be included in the go-forward architecture. Information needs to be federated with new systems, so that it can be found quickly and used to justify decisions. You also need to integrate existing workflows or integrations with other business systems.
Which processes add true value to the insurer’s touchless claims process?
We’re trying to help customers make better use of the information they have to make decisions. In claims, that’s being able to use video, photographs, police reports and information to better substantiate claims decisions. Even when embarking on a substantial digital transformation effort, it’s vital for new systems to fit within the elements of the existing solution that continue to be important, as well as those legacy systems that contain valuable historic information.
It’s not about coming in and making wholesale changes to the setup, which introduces a lot of uncertainty among employees and makes training on new systems a hurdle.
What is going to be the next advance that will make a big difference to the touchless claims landscape?
Being able to gain insights from information you already have is the next frontier. You can access valuations for home or auto from other systems and that data can be automated. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the ability to see into trends and apply them to your business. That, in turn, can help you streamline the processing and cost of servicing that claim.
In addition, if AI is using more standardised information it takes more human judgement out of the equation, turning decision-making into a more rules or fact-based process. Finally, by being able to examine the trends that emerge from customer data, insurers can identify new opportunities or models that could transform your position in the market.
AI offers value in at least two discrete ways. First, AI has the promise to reduce tedious, manual tasks, speeding up the claims process and eliminating mistakes. From categorising incoming information so agents have more context, to eliminating decisions that can be made automatically, agents can better understand the details of the claim and, in term, make better decisions.
Second, AI can look across entire datasets to surface trends that may be difficult to see on a day-in, day-out basis. These insights can help companies tune their services to be more competitive or take advantage of new business opportunities.
What do you want attendees to take away from your webinar?
The overarching message to convey is that there are technologies available that allow insurers to dramatically streamline the claims process, in terms of enabling touchless claims and finding efficiencies through AI and process automation. Automation will also reduce the number of manual interactions overall and workflows processing the claims can be routed to the right people at the right time.
Finally, this is going to improve transparency. The insured will be able to see the status of their claim at all times, giving them peace of mind and making the whole process less of a burden on the customer.
To join the webinar click here.
Nuxeo, Virtual, Claims, touchless, COVID-19, Insurance, Reinsurance, Technology, Sean Baird, North America