4 Ways Claims Professionals Must Adapt to the Digital Insurance Revolution

By: | September 23, 2019

Martin J. Frappolli, CPCU, FIDM, AIC, is Senior Director of Knowledge Resources at The Institutes, and editor of the organization's new “Managing Cyber Risk” textbook. He can be reached at [email protected]

The digital revolution underway in the insurance industry is affecting nearly every facet of insurance, and claims handling and management is no exception.

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Telematics devices that transmit billions of pieces of data about driver behavior and their likelihood for an accident are gaining popularity at major car insurers. Drones are taking pictures and assessing damages to homes and businesses after major weather events.

Sensors at residences and commercial factories can detect when equipment breaks down and immediately alert insurance companies.

They are also able to assess damages and help claims adjusters get to the root cause of an accident more efficiently, quickly and safely.

Blockchain technology is also changing how insurers are notified of losses and how policyholders provide proof of insurance.

Nationwide is already leveraging a new blockchain-based tool developed by The Institutes RiskStream Collaborative that establishes proof of insurance instantaneously and with remarkable accuracy.

Technology is even changing the way companies interact with customers. Policyholders are demanding a higher level of digital service in the form of 24/7 access to their policy information and their claims manager, including the ability to make adjustments to their claims from anywhere via a mobile app.

Insurance company customer service call centers are even utilizing artificial intelligence-powered voice recognition software to answer customer questions when no one is around to pick up the phone.

While these revolutionary capabilities will change the way insurance claims managers and professionals perform their job functions, it’s not uncommon that some industry veteran’s first reaction is to recoil in horror.

Ultimately, new technology can bring efficiency to the core transactions in your claims work, if you are ready for it. Here are four ways claims professionals must adapt to stay ahead of the insurance digital revolution and use it to their advantage:

1) Become Familiar with Data

While advancements in data collection and management in insurance won’t require most claims managers to become data scientists, some familiarity with data sets and probabilities will serve your professionals well. As predictive analytics become more advanced and accurate, claims professionals will be expected to harness this information in their assessments.

There are countless online resources that can teach basics of navigating and maintaining spreadsheets, a skill that will put you ahead of the game as data continues to become a larger part of the claims management process.

2) Expand Analytical & Investigational Skills

Sensors at warehouses, factories and households are monitoring equipment and sending information to insurance companies that can be useful in determining the cause of an accident or breakdown.

As the sheer volume of data continues to grow, claims professionals will be asked to analyze data sets to determine the cause of an accident and whether or not the carrier is liable.

They may also be asked to review drone footage of damaged homes and property after natural disasters. Determining the relevancy and accuracy of this information, and understanding how it fits into the claims management process will require a new analytical and investigational skill-set.

3) Make Yourself Available 24/7

Like doctors, police and first responders, claims managers must always be ready when the call comes — trouble doesn’t just happen between nine and five.

Technological advancements have cut expected response times to the shortest they’ve ever been. Claims professionals also do not spend much time at their desks and are asked to go where they’re needed, whenever they’re needed.

With the rise of mobile apps, policyholders can file claims, ask questions and make changes to their claims at any time. Claims managers must be sure to keep chargers and spare batteries handy, and keep all technology, including hot spots and laptops, charged and ready to use to ensure that they can respond at a moment’s notice.

4) Service with a Smile

Now that technology has become ubiquitous in the insurance industry, claims professionals face an opportunity to differentiate themselves by adding a truly personal and humanized touch to their customer service.

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When disaster strikes, policyholders want to know there’s a human being behind the technology, especially when they’re trying to cope in a time of crisis. There is still no substitute for talking to a human during emotional and stressful times.

To be truly successful in claims handling for decades to come, professionals will need to blend the best of both technology and a human touch to reach their full potential.

Claims managers must remember the training and experience that has made them successful so far, especially when it comes to customer service.

A Focus on Fundamentals

An insurance claims professional’s primary goals are to look out for the carrier’s financial interests, while honoring the promises made to insureds in their policies.

Balancing these often-conflicting goals requires the deft touch and experience only a human being can provide. Especially when training new employees, diving into data analytics and evaluating drone footage is like learning to run before you can crawl.

Knowing the policy inside and out, responding quickly and empathetically, and working with the carrier to provide the best possible outcome must always remain the care focus of the job.

While building your technical skill set to use new technologies to your advantage, don’t leave the fundamentals behind as the digital revolution continues to unfold. &

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]