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Digital claims management: Five key considerations for insurers

Matt Hooper, SVP Global Marketing & Alliances at IMImobile

It’s a challenging time to be an established insurance provider. As digital technology transforms the industry by increasing customer expectations, people want to quickly receive a quote, take out a policy and make a claim, while being able to access policy details and premiums at any time. Customers expect services and experiences tailored to their increasingly digital lives, leading the latest wave of ‘insurance technology’ disruptors to cater to these needs and ‘steal’ customers from established providers.

One example is the recently launched mobile app Goose, which claims it can help people take out travel insurance in less than 60 seconds. Traditional insurers are still playing catch-up with this kind of service; a recent study by Capgemini found that the insurance sector is lagging behind the telecom, automotive and banking industries in ‘digital mastery’, with the more than half of businesses (56 per cent) ranked digital ‘beginners’.

Claims management is a key area for insurers to focus their digital efforts on, as demonstrated by start-ups like Ethos, which provides cover within ten minutes and pays claims in two weeks. Consumers now demand faster claim processing and payment, so insurers must digitise claims management processes if they want to retain policy holders and stay ahead of the competition.

But how can they do this in practice? Here are five key areas to take into consideration:

  1. Proactive claims prevention via omnichannel communications

Neither insurers or customers want to deal with claims that could have been avoided. Customers don’t want the hassle and insurers don’t want the cost. That’s why forward-thinking insurance providers are engaging customers across multiple channels, sharing relevant information that improves the experience and minimises the number of claim-causing incidents. The ability to use multiple channels makes it much more realistic to reach customers in a timely manner (with a WhatsApp message warning of an approaching flood risk, for example), and makes it possible to provide a deeper experience than before, for example using RCS to send multimedia content depicting preventative measures the policy holder could take (such as how to stop flood water entering their property) to reduce the chance that they will suffer damage or loss. To successfully prevent claims, automated communications can identify when to trigger the right communication to the right customer base.

  1. Digitising the First Notice of Damage or Loss (FNOL)

Despite efforts to avoid them, claims are always going to occur. Yet, by allowing customers to alert their insurer of damage or loss via an app, costs can be cut and the user experience improved. Digital claims management allows a customer to notify insurers through their preferred channel – whether that’s Facebook Messenger, Twitter or SMS. Using a rule-based chatbot, insurers can guide customers through the First Notice of Loss process – enabling photo and video evidence to be submitted along the way – without leaving the customer’s channel of choice. This doesn’t just improve customer experience, but it also keeps the costs for the insurer low by minimising the use of more expensive service channels, such as contact centres.

  1. Automating claims analysis and management

Processing claims no longer needs to be a manual, time-consuming process. By digitising claims management, the evidence uploaded can be analysed in real-time, with basic fraud checks applied automatically and classified as simple, high-priority or complex claims. Simple claims can be automated to achieve a speedy resolution, whereas claims identified as high-priority or complex are seamlessly transferred to a customer service agent who can connect with the customer over their preferred messaging channel. All paperwork related to the claim is transmitted digitally, and the customer can even check the status of their claim step-by-step through the communication channel they’ve chosen.

  1. Digital loss assessment and repair

With their claim approved, customers can then choose how to proceed. If, for example, a car owner makes a simple claim and wants to repair their damaged car, the insurance provider can suggest a garage that is within a set proximity of the customer’s home. The entire process, even up to arranging the repair appointment, can be automated – all through the customer’s preferred messaging channel. Most importantly, if the customer would rather speak to a person, a contact centre agent can be connected into the conversation upon request.

  1. Post-claim follow up

It isn’t just the claims process itself that can be automated; insurers can schedule automated follow up communications after the claim has been completed. Chatbots, for instance, can be used to conduct post-claim surveys, using Natural Language Processing to analyse customer feedback.  If a customer gives a high rating and positive answers, the chatbot can ask for a review that can be published online. The customer can even be incentivised with a discount to help increase the number of reviews being submitted.

Closing the digital gaps

Despite the complexity of digital transformation, the rewards – such as better customer experiences, less demand on call centre agents and reduced operational costs – are worth it. The wealth of transformative options makes digitisation seem an uphill battle, but by focusing on claims management, insurers can target the most customer-facing aspect first.

As the most innovative providers have demonstrated, consumers want faster, more tailored communications from insurers when making a claim.

To put themselves in a position to keep pace with more agile competitors, established insurers should consider Enterprise Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) as a means to tie together back-end data with customer-facing channels. Gartner predicts that 30 percent of enterprises will deploy CPaaS (Communications-Platform-as-a-Service) by 2020, up from less than 5 percent in 2017. By focusing on the five key aspects of digitisation outlined here, insurance providers can launch multichannel customer journeys that will close the much-lamented digital gap in claims management communications.

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