ILC ARTICLE

How tech is tipping the claims journey


Technology is playing an ever-increasing part in the claims journey, but is it always being implemented with the customer in mind?

That was the question during the latest ILC webinar – ClaimsTech 2022: The story so far – which considered the impact new tech is having both on claims and the customer, and what developments might be coming next.

Taking part in the session were Charlotte Thorpe-Costa, Director of Marketing, Sightcall; Karen Houseago, Head of Insurance, Consumer Intelligence; and Peter Graham, Chairman and CEO, Kudo Insurance.

All agreed that new technology can and must streamline the claims process, leading to quicker outcomes for customers and cost benefits for insurers. However, Peter suggested that in many cases it is only the second of these that is being taken into account.

He said, “There needs to be a change in mindset. We all say we’re focused on the customer, but I don’t remember a business case ever being justified on that basis. Insurers make decisions based on loss ratios and expense ratios and then just hope those decisions benefit the customer as well.”

Choice

But where can those benefits most keenly be felt? A live, multi-choice poll found that 67% of respondents identified greater speed as the most obvious advantage of more tech, with accessibility and simplicity cited by 56% of respondents.

Another area where technology is already making a sizeable difference to the consumer is in choice. Karen explained that Consumer Intelligence research found that customers are happy to use technology for the initial purchase and when processing routine claims, but when it came to more severe instances they still wanted the reassurance that comes from talking to another person.

She said that 60% of customers polled said they’d prefer human interaction in the event of a car crash, while live chat was the second most popular choice with just 15% of the vote.

Satisfaction

Karen said, “A claim is a stressful time. It’s great that there are more options, but the most important thing to consider when implementing new technology is customer satisfaction and ultimately what the customer cares about is communication and speed of resolution.”

Charlotte agreed. She explained how Sightcall is delivering the best of both worlds with a largely automated claims solution that also enables the customer to switch to live chat as and when necessary.

She said, “We’re delivering a touchless, self-serve claims model that empowers the customer to go from FNOL to settlement without needing to ever speak to another person. But if they do get stuck then they have the option to switch to live video. This choice delivers the hybrid experience that customers want.

“For the insurer, our technology saves both time and money by shortening the claims cycle. It allows them to make better use of their resources and far from replacing the human element, actually revitalises the role of the claims handler by automating the repetitive tasks and enabling them to focus on the parts of the job they love and are good at.”

Human touch

Of course, some still fear that technology will eventually replace the human link completely. Peter said that if that ever happened it would be a sad day for the sector, suggesting that the value insurance professionals bring to the journey should be recognised more.

He said, “We underestimate the professionalism of people who handle claims. Insurance is a very dynamic industry. Something is changing all the time and the way we handle and settle claims is a fundamental part of our business. Personally, I think there should always be a human handling the claim, with technology just the enabler.”

That opinion was backed up by a second live poll during the session, which found 90% of respondents said technology had already changed the skills required within their business.

Future

It’s clear though that technology is only going to become more pervasive across all industry, as innovative start-ups such as Kudo continue to bring further disruption to market.

And while many customers will always want to be reassured by a real person in their time of need – Peter regards insurance as the fifth emergency service and says that level of empathy should inform all communication with customers – it is also clear that consumer attitudes are changing and trust in technology is growing rapidly.

Karen said that further research from Consumer Intelligence found that 75% of customers believe technology can be used more widely to support them and bring convenience to their lives.

Difference

Greater communication is one aspect of claims where more technology can make a difference, but Peter believes there is another area that remains almost completely untapped.

He said, “What do we do to prevent claims happening in the first place? Very little. As an industry we have access to huge amounts of data, but how do we use it to reduce frequency? At Kudo we’re using technology to help people change and improve their driving habits, because what greater benefit can we deliver for a consumer than helping them avoid having the accident in the first place?

“I think there is far more insurers can do to prevent accidents, but at the moment it’s still a huge, missed opportunity.”

ClaimsTech 2022 is supported by headline sponsors Sightcall; gold sponsors CoreLogic, Digilog, LexisNexis and Verisk; and silver sponsors Solera Audatex and Synergy.

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