Technology is disrupting the insurance industry, including the claims arena, from new claims management systems and mobile apps that enable consumers to submit loss reports to a remote adjuster to the use of drones to efficiently gather structure damage data. But are the benefits all one-sided or do customers perceive value in these innovations, too?
Throughout my career in financial services market research, I’ve visited dozens of claims operations, met with managers and listened-in on customer calls. While each company has its own methods and practices, we are all largely trying to make the customer whole again, in the shortest time and with the most efficient use of resources. The industry has widely adopted the use of strategic partners to bring specialized skills to bear and most have adopted electronic claim files and automated approvals, resulting in significant cycle-time savings.
There is a strong linkage between claim cycle-time and customer experience, but claim duration is not the only measure that is important. In pursuit of shorter claims we risk losing sight of the fact that for the average customer a claim event occurs very infrequently and is often associated with a traumatic experience. So it comes as little surprise that a majority of customers prefer to speak to a real person when handling a claim, even if that may take more of their time. For example, while it may be cost effective to outsource appraisals and loss estimation, it is imperative to not short-change the conversation with the customer around the estimate. An over reliance on electronic repair orders or loss valuation reports can cost the insurer a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the real value of their contract and their brand.
The companies with the best customer experience strategy are learning when and how to incorporate digital interactions into their claim-handling process. More importantly, they’re rapidly iterating and inviting the consumer to self-select the appropriate channels and frequency of interaction rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. This can be daunting for an industry that is slow to change. But the 63 million licensed drivers under age 35 on the roads today grew up in a connected world and are pushing the industry to adapt quickly.
If your company is struggling with how to balance technology innovation in claims while maintaining the quality care that has come to define your brand, email me. We are helping clients map the customer journey to ensure they’re focused on the critical moments from a customers’ perspective and help them identify ways to not only meet but exceed their customers’ expectations.