Like every other phase in the insurance cycle, the claims process is undergoing a period of rapid change. In fact, it could be argued that the speed of change on the claims front is outpacing all other areas.
The insurance industry and policyholders are entering the era of the ‘connected claim’ as emerging technologies and capabilities reshape the claims experience, forging a new environment in which losses can be reported, assessed and settled in a fraction of the time required by current claims processes.
For Caroline Pritchard, Global Relationship Leader at Crawford, the pace of this change is being dictated by customer expectations. “A clear driver is the behavioral shift in consumers, with the WhatsApp generation demanding much faster speed of delivery and a more responsive interface which puts them in control. The industry is responding to this, particularly in the personal lines arena, and we are seeing new self-service technologies on the claims front creating interfaces much more recognizable to that generation.”
Crawford is moving this dial forward on multiple fronts. For example, YouGoLook, its assisted self-service app, guides users through a series of steps to document simple claims or request an onsite adjusting resource. Also, it is implementing digital FNOL systems and voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa to enable claimants to initiate the first notice of loss, by asking a series of questions to capture claim data which is then uploaded directly to the website of the speaker’s insurer.
Such technologies, Pritchard adds, are just one way of putting the customer in a more central position in the claims process. “This is about giving the claimant, whether a homeowner or the risk manager of a multi-national corporation, greater control of the claim and the flow of information relating to it. They are in the best position to provide the information to the insurer or the adjuster to get the claim settled quickly.”
This increased empowerment of the insured or the customer forms a part of the wider evolution of the ‘connected claim’. In its entirety, this developing concept is designed to link every critical component in the claims value proposition into one seamless process. This interconnected ecosystem creates a unique environment in which every phase of the claim lifecycle is accelerated through streamlined workflows, resulting in significant benefits for all parties. These include faster indemnification, reduced expense, improved service and higher claimant satisfaction.
For Crawford, that ecosystem is expansive. From self-service applications and FNOL via digital voice assistants, and sophisticated tools for documenting and assessing damage as well as providing VR technology providing 360o loss site walkthroughs, to on-demand networks of trained individuals who can augment claims-adjusting employees, and more streamlined workflows for data intake and analysis, this connected claims environment is a central tenet of Crawford’s unrelenting focus on improving outcomes for clients and their customers.
“The overall goal in claims is customer satisfaction,” says Meredith Brogan, president of WeGoLook, a Crawford company. “The objective of a strong claims response is to match the complexity of resources to the complexity of the claim. Insurers and customers in this instance are looking for the same things: quality outcomes and service delivered consistently.”
According to Pritchard, one of the biggest challenges in maintaining that satisfaction and ensuring consistency of service is a breakdown in communication in the claims process.
“Where you tend to see disruption is where the communication chain breaks down between the insured and the other parties to the claim,” she explains. “Establishing a direct link between all the stakeholders and ensuring that the flow of critical data between them is maintained and supported by an effective feedback loop, is how you ensure efficiency, consistency and responsiveness in all claims situations.”
In addition, the introduction of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is enabling the swifter management of smaller, less complex claims which can be dealt with via an automated settlement function, while effective triage managed by an adjusting expert ensures more demanding losses can quickly be passed to specialist adjusters for assessment.
“That speed and efficiency around the handling and settlement of more straightforward losses is desirable for all,” explains Pritchard. “With more technically demanding claims being filtered directly to our expert adjusters for hands-on, intensive management. Not only does that free-up their time to focus on the immediate complexities of the event, but they also have the opportunity to play a more prominent role in supporting clients both pre- and post-loss, focusing on risk mitigation and promoting resilience.”
Data sits at the center of this adaptation to support a more expansive pre-loss role for the loss adjuster. “There’s a lot of discussion around how we can advance our capabilities to better support our clients in the pre-loss environment,” she continues.
“That means finding ways to work more closely with our brokers, carriers and insureds on loss-scenario planning and applying our extensive expertise to the huge amounts of data at our disposal to enhance the ability of all stakeholders to anticipate loss and with that insight better avoid or mitigate it.”
For Kieran Rigby, Global President of Crawford Claims Solutions, being able to mine the huge seams of loss data available quickly and effectively is vital to delivering a fully optimized, end-to-end service.
“Data analysis is increasingly becoming the key point of differentiation in our industry,” he believes. “If you look at the amount of data Crawford collects at all stages in the claims journey it is phenomenal. So, we are investing in our data analytics and expanding our team of data scientists. By applying our loss expertise to much more granular data sets that encompass both structured and unstructured data, we can distil that tremendous amount of information into actionable insight and viable solutions for our clients – whether that’s analysing the key factors driving the claims lifecycle or supporting more effective mitigation measures.”
There are multiple moving parts that are currently reshaping the claims process. The challenge is ensuring that all of those parts are seamlessly integrated into an ecosystem that encompasses the broker, the carrier, the insured and the loss adjuster, and facilitates the meaningful flow of data between all parties. Only then do you have a fully connected claims environment.