What Does Successful Claims Innovation Look Like?
As insurance technology advances, carriers must focus on customer pain points and allow them to drive efforts to find solutions

Insurers probably feel like they have been innovating at warp speed since the onset of the coronavirus. However, the reality is that many had already been upgrading and implementing a host of new technologies over the past several years. The rapid change to an almost completely remote environment has allowed them to utilize their InsurTech in new ways to serve employees and policyholders alike.

When the transition to actively implement a wide range of technologies into the insurance process began, many were concerned about the impact on their jobs. Lance Ondrej, executive vice president and chief claims officer for Germania Insurance, discussed the impact of technology on insurance claims and the professionals who manage them. He highlighted how technology is being used to identify and solve multiple customer pain points while freeing up adjusters and other claims professionals to provide greater customer service and handle more complex claims.

Ondrej emphasized the value of focusing on customer pain points to drive innovation. “If they don’t lead to a better customer experience, is that the way to go?” He recommended prioritizing solutions that could be identified as ‘low-hanging fruit’ to provide quick wins for a company and to balance them against some of the longer-term endeavors since it’s important to keep teams engaged while making sure the board is pleased with the progress being made.

The importance of reskilling and upskilling staff

As new technology is integrated, job roles will be enhanced, Ondrej explained, and an organization needs to consider its talent needs of the future. How changes are executed could influence the outcome of the solution, which may not work as effectively as initially expected if tools are not used correctly or staff does not understand the value of the implementation.

A business must prepare employees affected by changes not only for their roles today but also consider the skills they will need to be effective in the future. Dynamic workforce planning is vital to keeping a company flexible and helping it to reskill and upskill staff as it evolves. What is someone’s job today may not be his or her job tomorrow.

Innovation implementations can result in greater efficiencies that don’t require the same number of staff.  How can they be reskilled for these new responsibilities? By being proactive, companies can plan for future growth and variations instead of being reactive when the changes occur. “It keeps your staff in an agile state and abreast of technology advancements and new requirements,” encouraged Ondrej. “And it helps them develop along with the technology.”

Don’t forget the human factor

While technology brings efficiencies and can eliminate the need to interact with customers, insurers should not forget about the human factor – that voice-to-voice and person-to-person interaction is still desired and even demanded by some customers. “This varies by geography and the line of insurance,” shared Ondrej. “It’s not an easy topic to find a silver bullet for because there are always the competing factors of expense management and loss control with customer experience results.”

He said technology allows insurers to absorb additional volume without hiring more staff. “Job duties done manually today could be automated in the future. What do you do with that additional capacity?” Ondrej asked. “How can we redirect that capacity to improve loss control, expense management and the customer experience?”

Some customers will want those personal interactions and insurers will still need people to perform some tasks. “Don’t lose the omni-channel approach without considering the impact on the customer experience at the end of the day,” he cautioned.

While there are no easy answers, expanding these opportunities cross-functionally will be important to finding the right mix of technology to drive innovation and still be competitive in the marketplace.

Source: Property & Casualty

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