The insurance industry is slowly undergoing a digital transformation, with the personal insurance industry moving a little faster to adopt insurtech and technology solutions than commercial insurers.
But whether it’s a complex or simple claim, customers expect a modern claims experience that matches the way they process other transactions, from online banking to groceries. They want greater accessibility to the claims process, prompt resolution of claims, and a transparent and efficient process.
In the event of a disaster, however, resource issues can prevent commercial insurers from meeting the expectations of speed and efficiency of their commercial customers. Introducing business complaints automation can balance a digital transaction with the human touch.
Appetite for technology?
One obstacle for commercial insurers is the reluctance to invest a significant amount of money in updating the claims process. Insurance companies prioritize how to sell more insurance, maintain competitive premiums, or retain customers. There doesn’t seem to be the same appetite to invest in technology that will speed up claims handling and provide more customer control and engagement. Although a business interruption claim of $18,000 may be de minimus for the insurer, this claim is incredibly important to the sole proprietorship that needs the $18,000 because it was shut down for a week after a catastrophic event. This business owner wants to move this claim through the process as quickly as possible.
The current standard for processing a commercial insurance claim involves multiple systems, multiple steps, and significant human intervention and handoffs, which slows the process between when an insurable event occurs and when the customer receives a payment. The use of technology and innovation offers the opportunity to streamline the entire claims process, including:
- initiate complaint and customer access;
- provide a platform for claim documents;
- use this same platform to manage the status of claims, provide supporting documentation and post automated updates;
- provide a simple dashboard to calculate and display financial damages; and
- make a final decision and confirm the settlement.
Linking this system to an automated payment gateway makes the claims process more effective and efficient while improving customer satisfaction.
24/7 claims management
Insurance customers want to process their claims at their convenience, day, night or weekend. The human element and the limited availability of insurance professionals can slow down the process in several ways:
- a claims adjuster with dozens of claims to process;
- limited office hours and restricted hours of insurance professionals; or
- an email that goes unanswered because someone is out of the office, has mediation or training, or is simply busy elsewhere.
These bottlenecks can be removed and eliminated by a technology-driven, on-demand, self-service claims platform. Such an insurtech solution will not only digitize an analog process already in place. This can give the claimant more control over the claims process and shorten the time from insured event to payment while maintaining necessary compliance and due diligence. Making the claims process more efficient can also free insurance professionals from basic administrative and processing tasks, allowing them to focus on more complex claims issues.
The right technology solution can help a business solve the talent problem facing all sectors of the economy. Since many steps in the traditional claims process require human intervention, the right platform can streamline the process through automation while creating consistency in the claims process journey, regardless of talent shortages. When a claim requires further conversation or investigation, claims professionals can step in.
Choose the right solution
However, commercial insurers face the risk of technology choice overload. Commercial insurers are cautiously moving into insurtech, looking for innovative technology to use as a testing ground for some non-complex P&C claims. Insurance companies have a patchwork of systems, developed through mergers and acquisitions, that don’t necessarily communicate well with each other. Adding a plug-and-play insurtech solution is usually not the right choice. Businesses will likely consider existing technology modified to meet their specific strategic needs. Because of this need for a custom solution, more and more startups are entering the insurance market, creating new claims cloud solutions that insurers can take off the net and customize.
One of the ways insurance companies can go wrong when choosing a technology solution is that the right stakeholders may not be involved in the decision-making or planning process. There can be a disconnect between what the business is trying to achieve in terms of efficiency and saving money, and the experience of the employees and departments actually using the new system.
Over time, commercial insurance customers will become increasingly comfortable with automation. The proper use of insurtech will set insurance companies apart as they battle for renewals and new customers.
For now, early adopters of business claims automation are balancing both a digital solution and the human touch.
Simon Oddie is a partner at Baker Tilly. He works with insurers and lawyers in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
Bernard Regan is Director of the Global Forensic Consulting Practice at Baker Tilly. He specializes in the application and management of computer forensic processes, including cybersecurity and digital forensics.