Pandemic speeds use of technology in adjusting world: McLarens


Market conditions in Asia, as they are across the wider world, are in flux. Re/insurers are grappling with the challenges of heavy losses and great uncertainty but are also benefiting from increasing rates.

That is according to Mike Campbell-Pitt, regional director–Asia, McLarens, a global loss adjuster specialising in complex, commercial and niche markets and a sponsor of SIRC 2020 Re-Mind.

“On one hand rates are increasing, which is very welcome to insurers after so many years of soft markets.

“On the other hand, businesses are reeling from catastrophes such as floods in India, earthquakes and typhoons in Japan and protests in Hong Kong,” Campbell-Pitt said.

“Adding the impact of COVID-19 will bring increased stress to many markets with limited demand for insurance services where businesses are not able to survive under the financial strain.

“This is already apparent in some Asian territories, but the situation in six to 12 months’ time is likely to look very different and potentially far more severe. I suspect that rates will continue to increase to cover previous losses and balance out the impact to insurance markets dealing with reduced interest and capacity.”

Against this backdrop, Campbell-Pitt said, COVID-19 has increased the speed of technology being introduced into the adjusting world. What’s more, he believes that, for smaller losses, the changes will likely be significant and permanent as insurers increase their ability to manage lower value claims in-house using robotics and other new technologies.

“For the larger and more complex losses we are likely to see the continued rollout of new solutions such as drone surveys, 3D modelling, enhanced video capture, live streaming and other solutions which enhance the claims-handling process and also shorten the handling time and cost to manage,” he said.

“The ability to service claims remotely is becoming more prevalent and the adjusting community will need to put in place effective solutions to manage this. We do however still see great value in site visits and face-to-face meetings on the larger and more complex losses.

“Finding the right balance and ensuring that claims that require the attendance of an adjuster due to size, complexity or a particular nuance, to guide the claim through to settlement will still be key to effective claims management.”

“The situation in six to 12 months’ time is likely to look very different and potentially far more severe.” Mike Campbell-Pitt, McLarens

Better services
The COVID-19 crisis means that insurers are looking closely at their service providers to see how they can assist; this is causing those providers to think outside the box.

“The adjusting market will continue to grow only by improving on the services being provided, introducing newer technologies and working closely with partners in a collaborative manner,” Campbell-Pitt said.

“At McLarens we believe we are rising to that challenge and are in a very strong position regionally and globally to deal with the changing needs of our clients. We remain focused on our strategic vision and look forward to working with our partners to further enhance our service offerings.”

Campbell-Pitt joined McLarens in September as part of a wider strategic push in the region, taking responsibility for management and strategic growth of 12 country operations across Asia. He joined from Crawford and Company where he was CEO of Asia.

His appointment followed that of Stephen Toomer in March 2020 as managing director, McLarens Korea, in March 2020. McLarens acquired Lloyd Warwick International in June 2020 and CNZ in October, which is now McLarens New Zealand.

Campbell-Pitt said that while McLarens already has a significant footprint across Asia, it sees opportunities for growth in most of the markets it services.

“Our clients are increasingly looking for support in more specialised service areas, which fits directly with McLarens ongoing strategic vision,” he said.

“Across Asia we are moving forward with growth initiatives in various sectors including renewable energy, offshore energy, cyber solutions and forensic accounting, all of which fit with our acquisition strategy and will complement existing offerings we provide to clients in other markets.”

“Our clients are increasingly looking for support in more specialised service areas.”

New tech for claims
Campbell-Pitt admits that COVID-19 has created several new challenges in 2020 which have affected its ability to service claims in a traditional manner. He notes that one of the more significant issues has been the inability to travel in a timely manner to each loss in person, where movement controls have prevented this.

“But instead of this being a hindrance for us, we have seen it as a growth opportunity with our clients around the introduction of new technology and enhanced claim-servicing solutions.

“We have invested in technology within Asia that allows us to communicate remotely with all interested parties to a claim simultaneously, while on site or remotely. The app also allows specific parties to have sight of live or recorded imagery,” he said.

He said that the company’s local, regional, and global communications have been enhanced internally as well as externally, which has allowed greater collaboration among its businesses.

“In some territories we have seen insurers change their own internal processes such as facilitating electronic payments rather than the issuing of cheques. Where possible we are working with them to ensure the smooth transition of traditional claim-servicing practices to embrace the new normal,” he said.

“Overall COVID-19 has not been a significant hindrance to McLarens’ strategic plans and has in fact helped us focus and enhance our service offerings to meet the changing needs of our clients,” he concluded.

McLarens, SIRC, Insurance, Reinsurance, COVID-19, Mike Campbell-Pitt, Asia-Pacific

Intelligent Insurer