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Following Digital Claims 2022 on April 28th, TIN's Jeremy Burgess and Phil Middleton wrote a blog capturing some of the big themes and issues that resonated through the day.
The first highlight would be a genuine and tangible shift to customer centricity.
In the past, when we conducted the pre-event surveys, there were still a lot of people looking at claims transformation through the lens of finding efficiencies and cost cutting. This year, in both the pre-event survey and during the sessions, the discussions were about improving the customer claims journey from a genuinely customer-centric perspective – in Jonathan Clark’s case a very personal perspective!
It seems that when investing in claims, or indeed in technology, it is no longer a case of seeking to either enhance customer experience OR improve efficiency - the two have become intertwined, with efficiency gains following on from improving CX. If you’ve got a good customer claims journey, then you're going to be able to deal with that customer and resolve their problems quicker - if they self-serve, or failing that, if they're not calling your call centre multiple times then as well as removing friction from the customer journey, your investment should also deliver efficiencies.
Another theme resonating through the day was the imperative to get the balance right between digital technologies and human / one-to-one service in the claims journey, with Nirvana being a place where you are blending digital agility and efficiency of service on one hand, with human empathy and personal service on the other to deliver an exceptional claims experience.
It felt like the claims community is at an intersection or a crossroads where digital technologies are playing an ever greater role in delivering the claims service, but the skills and capabilities within organisations are still set up for the old analogue / manual / paper processes. People and processes (and the skills & capabilities & culture that go with them) need to catch up with the technology.
It was clear from the conference that robots are not going to replace the human element of claims handling any time soon. As well as enabling self-service and improving the ‘front end’ digital customer experience, digital technologies can also enable claims handlers and customer service agents to deal with customers better – IF those people are ready and willing to adopt and ideally embrace them.
The 2pm discussion made it clear that the arrival of open insurance is an inevitability as well as an opportunity - its not a case of 'if' but 'when', and there can be no doubting the seismic impact on the insurance value chain that customers sharing their own data for their own benefit will have. The concept threatens to disrupt the traditional pooling of risk model that sits at the core of insurance: insurers are going to have such granular data that they will potentially have to treat everyone individually – which could mean that you have vulnerable customers (people who live in flood plains for example) that fall outside of your model and therefore risk being excluded.
Russell Dixon at EY made the point that a regulatory imposition of Open Insurance is probably going to be the quickest way to make it happen (assuming it’s inevitable) - but perhaps the industry should be asking if it’s the best? If we “did it our way” before the regulator steps in, we might avoid the kind of “blunt instrument regulation” designed to protect more vulnerable customers at the expense of the industry. As well as grapple with these moral / ethical / commercial dilemmas, the sector also has to “address its trust issue”: in this context the too often too prevalent mistrust of insurers’ intentions is a real blocker, especially to anything that involves leveraging customer data. The trouble is that (as we all know) regaining trust where you’ve lost it is very difficult, and in too many cases requests for data from insurers are met with suspicion rather than welcomed.
Finally, the issue that seems to cut across every challenge, and sits at the heart of every solution: DATA.
Data is still a massive problem as well as the biggest opportunity, and it’s clear that a lot of companies are still taking a reactive, tactical approach rather than a holistic strategic one - many don’t yet have a data strategy in place that allows claims to unearth and leverage the value that claims data represents to the rest of the business – in other words, we are still siloed when it comes to data, and that is stopping us not just from improving the customer experience, but from informing underwriting, enhancing retention and driving business value across the organisation.
Claims has migrated from a back-office fulfilment function to become front-and-centre in the race to engage the customer, build brand and deliver competitive advantage. The challenge is now to foster the skills, capabilities and culture - as well as leverage the technology – to enable profitable growth.