The COVID crisis has created unprecedented challenges to the insurance industry, but the uncertainty has also brought significant opportunities for disruption in the claims space.
During the past eighteen months, shifts have been made towards a focus on a remote or virtual customer experience, creating a critical opportunity for insurers and suppliers alike to find ways to individualise the claim experience at scale, remotely.
At the same time, by digitising their existing business, insurers are reducing costs across the value chain and increasing customer lifetime value.
IMPROVING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Many in the industry are still in the early adoption stage of undertaking a digital transformation to improve customer experience (CX). And with customer expectations at an all-time high, how do you rise to the occasion?
Insurance claim submissions traditionally rely on personal communication between the customer and claims processor, supplemented by vast amounts of documentation exchanged and processed manually.
This creates a significant risk to customer experience, employee experience and business finances.
To minimise these risks, many insurers are moving towards SaaS (software-as-a-service) platforms and modular, connectable ecosystems that can be easily configured to fit with the way they run their businesses.
Fast, cloud-based implementations with lower internal IT integration requirements provide better outcomes for smaller investments while also allowing for exponentially greater flexibility in the way users run their operations.
BEYOND TRANSACTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Insurers are taking advantage of this flexibility by allowing their claims handlers to have seamless conversations across multiple channels with customers.
Meeting customers at the appropriate time using a suitable communication medium allows insurers to move beyond a transactional relationships and drive loyalty and retention.
According to data in the 2020 Claim Experience Report, Australian insurance consumers have an increased craving for information and transparency when experiencing a claims process. The report further identifies four critical areas of need in digitising the claim space:
- Digitisation — remote and virtual processes are key
- Automation (STP) — reduction of non-value-adding, repetitive tasks
- Risk management — mitigate the roadblocks to better CX
- System integration — an ecosystems strategy rather than disparate systems
STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD
Insurers that want to differentiate themselves and rise to the top need to offer customer-first experiences that deliver cohesive, digitally-enabled journeys.
One example of how this might work is the assessment process, which traditionally causes the most significant bottlenecks — in fact, 83 per cent of Australian brokers identify this stage of the claim lifecycle as the point at which experiences most often break down (2020 Claims Experience Report).
The traditional field assessment process is time-consuming, costly, and often inaccurate.
In addition, in the post-COVID world, insurers need a streamlined, remote working environment that can scale to meet the changing demands of government directives, customer expectations or catastrophic weather events.
The use of virtual inspections at claim time has been proven to create seamless, positive experiences by allowing a trained assessor to connect with customers in real-time via their mobile device virtually.
Video and audio are recorded, photos captured, measurements taken, and documents uploaded and signed. The collected information is used to write an estimate and prepare a summary report for submission to the insurer.
In specific use cases, live streaming video technology tools have seen an average of 45 per cent savings in claims processing costs and a reduction of three and a half days in claim cycle times when implemented within the claims process.
By automating part of the claims journey, the claims cost can be reduced by 30 per cent, while NPS scores can increase by 10-15 points according to McKinsey & Company.
Aside from these reduced costs, higher customer satisfaction driven by the improved service and processing times that digitisation delivers, also results in increased customer retention.
The evidence is overwhelming that insurers need to implement a scalable and flexible architecture that supports the quick integration of offerings into seamless customer journeys.
Digital transformation can help insurers meet overwhelmingly high customer expectations while enhancing workflows, processes and profitability in the new world of social distancing.
From virtual inspections to connected ecosystems, designing products and services around the customer experience helps turn insurers into trusted advisors that will drive customer loyalty and ultimately purchasing decisions. Consider these components first:
- Define goals and overall strategy
- Structure a roadmap for the path to digitisation
- Select appropriate and experienced third-party vendors