Why digital claims management should be an insurers priority

Discover what digital claims management looks like and why it should be at the top of every insurer’s digital transformation agenda.

Written by Sam Watson on

It’s a challenging time to be an established insurance provider - digital technology is transforming every industry, causing customer expectations to rise and a new wave of digital-first competitors to launch.

The consumers of today and tomorrow now demand instant 24/7 services, delivered on the channel of their choice, combined with the ability to self-serve and unapparelled customer support.

In the case of insurance, consumers want to quickly receive a quote, take out a policy and make a claim, while being able to access policy details and premiums whenever needed. Simply put, consumers want services and experiences tailored to their increasingly digital lives.

The latest wave of ‘Insurance Technology’ disruptors entering the market are only too ready to cater to those growing needs to ‘steal’ customers from established providers. One example is the recently launched mobile app Goose, that claims it can help Canadians take out travel insurance in less than 60 seconds.

Despite the weight of customer expectations and growing competitive pressure, traditional insurers are still playing catch-up. A recent study by Capgemini found the insurance sector lagging behind telecom, automotive and banking industries in digital mastery, with the majority of businesses (56%) ranking as ‘beginners’.

This stat highlights the massive opportunity for those insurers who are ready to create and execute a smart digital transformation strategy. And for most, digital claims management will be the natural place to start.

1. Proactive claims prevention via multichannel communications

Proactive claims prevention is the first step to digitising claims management. Insurers and their customers have one key thing in common – neither want to have 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 today’s most forward-thinking insurance providers are engaging customers across multiple channels, sharing relevant information that not only improves the experience, but is also designed to help minimise the number of claim-causing incidents.

This could mean letting a customer know a major storm is forecast for their region, and that they should better keep their car in their garage overnight. Or simply sharing tips on how to keep their dog fit and healthy.

With the size of established insurers customer bases and difference in customer policies, such proactive communications and intelligent services depend on the ability to automate communications across back-end infrastructure and business systems in order to identify when to trigger the right communication to the right customer base.

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

Despite proactive communications to help customers avoid damage to their insured items, claims are always going to occur. And the first step for a customer when an incident has occurred is to inform the insurer of a claim.

Let’s run with an automotive example. Imagine a customer is warned of a coming storm, but despite the warning the customers’ car is damaged. With digital claims management, a customer can notify the insurer of the damage through the channel of their choice – whether that’s Facebook Messenger, Twitter, SMS, or any other digital channel of their choosing

With a rules-based chatbot approach, the insurer can guide the customer through the First Notice of Loss process – enabling photo and video evidence to be submitted along the way – without ever having to leave the customer’s channel of choice.

This isn’t just great for customer satisfaction, but it also keeps the costs for the insurer low by minimising the use of more expensive service channels, like calling the contact centre.

3. Automating claims analysis and management

Traditionally, processing a claim is a manual, time-consuming process. With digitised claims management, that’s no longer the case.

Once the customer has submitted their claim with all the necessary images and information, it can be analysed in real-time – basic fraud checks can be applied automatically, and it’s either classified as a simple, high-priority or complex claim.

With AI working in the background, simple claims are automated to achieve a speedy resolution, whereas claims identified as high-priority or complex are referred to a customer service agent who can connect with the customer over their preferred messaging channel as and when required.

Also helping to improve the experience, all paperwork related to the claim is transmitted digitally, and our car owner can even check the status of their claim step-by-step through his preferred communication channel.

4. Digital loss assessment and repair

With the claim approved, the customer can then choose a suitable option, for example, selecting to ‘replace’ or ‘repair’ the car.

Let’s imagine our car owner has made a simple claim and wants to repair his damaged car. The insurance provider has a number of approved garages within their systems and can suggest a garage that is within a set proximity of the customers home.

The entire process, providing the customer with a selection of approved garages and setting the repair appointment can be automated – all through the customers preferred messaging channel. Guiding the customer through the process, a chatbot can manage the entire interaction.

And if at any point the customer suddenly gets stuck or doesn’t want to use a virtual assistant or chatbot, a contact centre agent can be connected into the conversation upon request.

5. Post-claim follow up

Once the claim has been processed and completed, insurers can schedule automated follow up communications to cap off the process of digital claims management. They can deploy communications to gain insights from customers on overall brand experience, gain feedback to help identify opportunities for new products, and even use a positive claim outcome to try to upsell to the customer.

For example, a chatbot can be used to get customers to complete a post-claim survey, using NLP to analyse customer feedback to questions, such as ‘How would you rate the experience delivered?’ or ‘What about your experience and the way we handle claims did you like?’

If a customer gives a high rating and positive answers, then the chatbot can ask for a review that can be published online. If the customer needs an extra push, they can be incentivised with a discount, which will help to increase the number of publishable reviews being submitted.

Closing the gaps in digital mastery to accelerate innovation

Despite the complexity of digital transformation, the rewards – from better customer experiences, lower inbound calls into the call centre, to reduced operational costs through intelligent automation – will be worth it.

With digital mastery so scarce in the insurance industry, many insurers are looking to software vendors and Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) providers to help provide the capabilities they need to accelerate the launch of digital services and communications.

Indeed, Gartner predicts that 30% of enterprises will deploy CPaaS by 2020, up from less than 5% in 2017. When deciding which platform to invest in, insurers should prioritise providers who can provide them with visual flow development tools, multichannel APIs, extensive integration options, and scalability.

The smartest insurers will seek out partners that support low-code development, bridging their digital skills gaps, and empowering their non-IT teams to launch digital services and communications. These tools and capabilities will come together to help launch multichannel customer journeys up to 10X faster and close the digital transformation gap.