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Making the ‘moment of truth’ a positive one during insurance claims

July 13, 2017
Posted by Gareth King

Insurance claims and the moment of truth

The quality of customer experience increasingly dominates brand values and buying decisions.  Yet for the insurance sector customer touch points are rare – and that puts huge pressure on the industry to get every interaction right first time. While companies have invested heavily in improving the sales experience, few insurers can point to an equally positive claims resolution experience.

By reconsidering the changes needed in the claims resolution process, insurers can not only save costs on leakage and aged-debt but, critically, also ensure the customer’s ‘moment of truth’ will be a positive one.

Overlooking the Customer Experience

There is no doubt that claims resolution can be a complex process. For claims handlers juggling multiple suppliers – some national companies working to Service Level Agreements (SLA), others small independent local firms – it can be incredibly challenging. And with the focus on managing suppliers, the quality of the customer experience can often be overlooked. Few insurers are able to proactively inform customers of the progress through the claim resolution process or offer secure access to an online portal providing up to date information regarding suppliers and planned visits to undertake remedial work. Instead, the onus is on the customer – or broker – to chase the insurer for information on the claim’s progress. Hardly customer experience best practice.

As with any complex supply chain, it is the quality and timeliness of information sharing that is key to effective operations. For both insurers and suppliers, however, a continued reliance on email – even fax – based communication often results in essential pieces of information being lost.  The result for customers can be far from positive, with excess being reclaimed many months later, and repeated phone calls demanding the same information. It is rarely the high quality experience required – or promised – especially considering that this is often a time of high personal stress for a policyholder who has experienced a major event, from car crash to flood.

 Inefficient and High Cost

And with no central visibility, claims managers have no idea if a supplier has received an email confirming a specific job – or if that email has been actioned. The result is a delay in resolution which undermines the customer experience and adds significant cost to an industry already under severe financial pressure.

This process needs to be 100% visible to all parties. Rather than emails disappearing into personal mailbox silos, or providing just a part of the required information, by leveraging a set of standard messages that pull data from the claims system, an insurer can create a far more consistent communication model with suppliers, irrespective of their size. Large national firms can be integrated into the insurer’s system, enabling immediate responses which confirm milestones have been met. For smaller suppliers, or those recently taken on, there is an option to use a portal to share the same milestone information. At every stage, the claims handler has complete visibility of every supplier’s progress.

The additional benefit to the insurer of this approach is significant cost reduction, not least in cutting aged debt and leakage. With standard messaging, the risk of suppliers not understanding the need to collect an Excess is removed; while preventing miscommunication between suppliers can avoid mistakes and ensure every element of the work is done quickly, efficiently and in order. Furthermore with a single view of all activity, it is far easier for insurers to track the performance of each supplier against the SLA, reconcile claim and invoice value and track trends in performance.

Conclusion

In a market that has historically been competitive on price, increasing commoditisation is creating the need for a new differentiator – and that has to be customer experience.  And with limited touch points, the quality of claims resolution is an essential component of the end to end customer journey. Whether a customer is long term loyal or a recent acquisition, any insurer paying out on a claim needs to retain that policyholder to recoup the cost. Ensuring every aspect of the claims resolution process is smooth, efficient and well communicated is, therefore, essential.

Make the claims resolution a good experience and an insurer can be confident that the customer’s ‘moment of truth’ will be a good one.

 

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Gareth King – Senior Insurance Product Manager, Adjuno
Gareth is an expert in supply chain management software and has worked in the industry for over 14 years, specialising in the retail and insurance sectors. He currently manages the insurance product portfolio and future roadmap for Adjuno, who are a leading supplier of web-based supply chain software. Gareth’s knowledge and hands on experience has guaranteed the successful implementation of supply chain solutions to clients including Marks & Spencer, New Look, Randall & Quilter, AXA and Zurich Insurance.