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Sponsored: Liberty Mutual Insurance

The Importance of Claims Innovation for Insurance Buyers and Brokers

A dedicated team of professionals is just one of the key elements of an effective claims innovation program.
By: | December 14, 2015 • 5 min read

Innovation is dominating the headlines today, sounding more like a science-fiction novel than the news. Technology advances are making devices like infrared cameras and drones more accessible and enabling advancements in business processes that help reduce costs and improve customer service – all of which begs the question, ‘Can innovation help control cost in the commercial insurance industry?’

Liberty Mutual Insurance believes it can, and has invested in tools to help better manage general liability, property, commercial auto and workers’ compensation claims. The insurer has a dedicated team of data scientists and predictive analytics modelers, as well as a devoted innovation team whose full-time job is to explore how innovation can be used to improve service and reduce costs.

“It’s one thing to say you want to be a leader with analytics or innovation, but to make it a reality you must dedicate teams to data analytics, predictive modeling, and innovation,” said Glenn Shapiro, chief claims officer of Liberty Mutual’s commercial insurance operation. “With the rate that technology is changing, dedicating resources to innovation makes perfect sense. It provides the opportunity for us to think differently about our business and deliver clear benefits to buyers and brokers.”

Liberty Mutual’s Glenn Shapiro reviews the value of innovation for buyers and brokers.

Seeing is Believing

During an inspection of a commercial insurance water damage claim, a Liberty property adjuster wondered if an infrared camera would allow him to better understand and more accurately assess the extent of damage. And with that one question, Liberty’s innovation team set out to look into the technology and test it. As a result, infrared cameras were deployed into the field.

“One of the first test cases was a large gymnasium with water damage,” explained Shapiro. “Everyone who looked at it believed the entire floor needed to be replaced. But with the infrared camera, it was determined that actually only a quarter of the floor had water damage. Not only did this technology save considerable cost, but the customer was able to get back to business quicker with a less involved repair.”

Armed with portable infrared cameras, Liberty’s commercial property adjusters are able to examine the extent of damage, rather than ripping out walls, floors, and ceilings to find it—an expensive and time-consuming endeavor.

Another great example of Liberty’s innovation team reducing costs and improving service is in post-catastrophe situations. The most trying time for the insured and the insurance company is waiting for access to the catastrophe zone. In some cases, authorities won’t allow access for many weeks. So Liberty’s innovation team was tasked with ‘how can we gain access and assess damage sooner.’ Their answer: Drones.

Drones and satellite imagery allow the insurer to get an early view of the loss and quickly assess the rough scale of damage in order to make initial payments and deploy field claims resources. For the insured experiencing the loss, this quick action and movement towards recovery is a huge help in a very difficult time.

Glenn Shapiro highlights the value of drones and infrared cameras in better managing total claim costs.

Putting Data to Work

One of the benefits of technology is the ability to gather, analyze, and trend data. Many predictive analytics models have been developed to allow insurers to point to possible problems, but often in a very general way. Liberty’s predictive modeling team has taken this to a new level with laser models, allowing for a very specific action at a specific point in time.

Glenn summarizes the importance of predictive modeling in managing claim costs.

“I often explain this like the ‘check engine light’ on your car dashboard,” said Shapiro. “When this light comes on, it could be a range of different problems. But if it said ‘right front tire is low’ you would know immediately what needs attention.”

Liberty was the among the first Property & Casualty insurers to bring the sophisticated data analytics that are standard in Group Health insurance to workers’ compensation claims management. More recently, Liberty has developed several laser models for workers’ compensation claims that accurately identify cases in need of specific action. The insurer’s compensability model can identify cases with 90% accuracy that require deeper compensability review. Another model can identify potential fraud, and another can detect possible opportunities for subrogation recovery. Many other laser models are being developed to use data to focus in on specific issues faster.

The result of Liberty’s systematic focus on claims innovation helps better control the total cost of claims. In fact, Liberty Mutual/Helmsman closes workers’ compensation claims 20% faster than other insurers, and its 10-year ultimate average cost of workers’ compensation claims is 10% lower than the competition, according to an internal analysis of Schedule P filings valued as of the end of 2014.

Technology Creates Opportunity

What’s come of this is an environment within Liberty where questions are asked and solutions are sought, where data, analytics, and innovation come together. Data, predictive analytics, and innovation teams work interchangeably to turn ideas into actions.

The keys to successful claims innovations, according to Glenn Shapiro.

“The claims process that we had 20 years ago or even five years ago is long gone,” said Shapiro. “We have to continually seek out innovation if we expect to compete with not only other insurance companies, but other services that people consume every day. Innovation isn’t just looking at new ideas; it’s making them come to life that makes the difference.”

Glenn Shapiro can be reached at [email protected].

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This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Liberty Mutual Insurance. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.

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Liberty Mutual Insurance offers a wide range of insurance products and services, including general liability, property, commercial automobile, excess casualty and workers compensation.

More from Risk & Insurance

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Risk Management

The Profession

The risk manager for Boyd Gaming Corp. says curiosity keeps him engaged, and continual education will be the key to managing emerging risks.
By: | May 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

I was trained as an accountant, worked in public accounting and became a CPA. Being comfortable with numbers is helpful in my current role, and obviously, the language of business is financial statements, so it helps.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

Working in finance in the corporate environment included the review of budgets and the analysis of business expenses. I quickly found the area of benefits and insurance — and how “accepting risk” impacted those expenses — to be fascinating. I asked a lot of questions. Be careful what you ask for — I soon found myself responsible for those insurance areas and haven’t looked back!

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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I have found the risk management community to be a close-knit group, whether that’s industry professionals, risk managers with other companies or support organizations like RIMS and other regional groups. The expertise of the carriers and specialty vendors to develop new products and programs, along with the appropriate education, will continue to be of key importance to companies going forward.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

As I’m sure many in the insurance field would agree, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 changed our world and our industry. It was a particularly intense time and certainly a baptism by fire for people like me who were relatively new to the industry. This event clearly accelerated the switch to the acceptance of more risk, which impacted mitigation strategies and programs.

Bob Berglund, vice president, benefits and insurance, Boyd Gaming Corp.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

The fast-paced threat that cyber security represents today. Our company, like so many companies, is reliant upon computers, software and IT expertise in our everyday existence. This new risk has forged an even stronger relationship between risk management and our IT department as we work together to address this growing threat.

Additionally, the shooting event in Las Vegas in 2017 will have an enduring impact on firms that host large gatherings and arena-style events all over the world, and our company is no exception.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

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With the various types of insurance programs we employ, I have been fortunate to work with most of the large national and international carriers — all of whom employ talented people with a vast array of resources.

R&I:  How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

We use brokers for many of our professional coverages, such as property, casualty, D&O and cyber. We are self-insured under our health plans, with close to 25,000 members. We tend to manage those programs internally and utilize direct relationships with carriers and specialty vendors to tailor a plan that works best for team members.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I have been fortunate to have worked alongside some smart and insightful people during my career. A key piece of advice, said in many different ways, has served me well. Simply stated: “Seek to understand before being understood.”

What this has meant to me is try everything you can to learn about something, new or old. After you have gained this knowledge, you can begin to access and maybe suggest changes or adjustments. Being curious has always been a personal enjoyment for me in business, and I have found people are more than willing to lend a hand, offer information and advice — you just need to ask. Building those alliances and foundations of knowledge on a subject matter makes tackling the future more exciting and fruitful.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Our benefit health plan is much more than handing out an insurance card at the beginning of the year. We encourage our team members and their families to learn about their personal health, get engaged in a variety of health and wellness programs and try to live life in the healthiest possible way. The result of that is literally hundreds of testimonials from our members every year on how they have lost weight, changed their lifestyle and gotten off medications. It is extremely rewarding and is a testament to [our] close-knit corporate culture.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

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Some will remember the volcano eruption in Iceland in spring of 2010. I was just finishing a week of meetings in London with Lloyd’s syndicates related to our property insurance placement when the airspace in England and most of northern Europe was shut down — no airplanes in or out! Flights were ultimately canceled for the following five days. Therefore, with a few other stranded visitors like myself, we experimented and tried out new restaurants every day until we could leave. It was a very interesting time!

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

I am originally from Canada, and I played ice hockey from the time I was four years old up until quite recently. Too many surgeries sadly forced my recent retirement.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

That’s a funny one … I am a CPA working in the casino industry, doing insurance and risk management, so neighbors and acquaintances think I either do tax returns or they think I’m a blackjack dealer at the casino!




Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]