How are claims customer expectations changing and how do we meet them?


Liz Ryan, Head of Claims Performance & Insights at Zurich Insurance discusses how they are developing a frictionless, omni-channel claims experience.

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Liz Ryan: So I guess as insurance, our customer base covers a broad range from those private individuals through to our large multinational companies, and we shouldn't also forget about our brokers and distribution channels who increasingly are our customers. But I think all of them have one thing in common that they expect to frictionless, any time service with that omni channel methods of communication with us. If we start with those retail customers, they can expect the same service that they would get from any other purchase, be it shopping, banking, those things. If you think what you are able to do now with your banking app compared to what you might have to do telephone or through branch five years ago, customers will have the same expectations on their insurance companies. Unfortunately our technology is lagging somewhat behind, but that's the expectation that's building.

They want the ability to report claims through online services and whether simple claims, expect quick decisions and turn around for payments. Where things are written more complex, we need to make the settling and fulfilling claims as simple as possible, utilizing emerging technologies to speed up the process.

We also need to make sure customers fully understand the process. It might be the first time they're going through a claims - it's complicated, it's difficult, do they they understand the timescales, what's going to happen and things like that, and making sure that they're kept up to date and that they're able to track their claims as they would be in all the other forms of life where things are at the tip of your hands when you're on your phone.

But we also need to remember that a digital journey won't be appropriate for all circumstances and customers. We'll have more complex, unique claims that will require the expertise of technical claims, handling and regardless of complexity, are more vulnerable customers may require more hands on human centered personal service.

And we also shouldn't forget that making a claim is usually a time of stress where customers will want to be treated with empathy and care. So as our processes become more automated and AI driven, retaining the human element of claims service is a key priority and going above and beyond what people might expect.

Turning briefly to commercial customers and intermediaries, they're going to have similar expectations about the ease of doing business with us and that ability to utilize technology and digital channels wherever possible. But they're also starting to look for value added services that their insurance company can provide to them.

At Zurich we're seeing increasing demand for data insights into claims trends to support companies in managing and preventing claims in the first place.

So turning to the second part of your question, how do you actually go about it? The topic of digital automation is what we're here to talk about and we'll cover some of the use cases and toolkits in a bit more detail in the later questions. But it's really important to start with a clear vision and organization design of what you're trying to achieve with your digital investment. I think it can be easy at the start to start sort of picking off the low hanging fruits, the shiny bits of tech and things. And before you know it, you may end up with a landscape that's not really delivering what you need it to do.

So at Zurich we started by clearly articulating what we wanted our future Northstar customer journey to look like. And then we developed our digital roadmap to achieve this and prioritize our investments. So straight through processing of low value, less complex claims with A.I. driven decision engine to screen to for fraud, check policy coverage in term and quantum with more complex kinds of larger customers still having that technical claims handling relationship management. But you still utilizing automation and AI to remove non value add tasks and speed up that customer journey.

And finally, I think we shouldn't forget about establishing customer listening programs, and it's really important to make sure you've got that continuous feedback loop to make sure you're understanding what the problems are, what those pain points are, and how you can continue to evolve your digital landscape and other services to make sure you're offering the service customers are expecting.

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What is your role at Harbour Underwriting?I am the business operations analyst for Harbour Underwriting.