Filed Under:Carrier Innovations, Technology Solutions

Shattered Lives

Technology has transformed the claims process for property/casualty insurers, according to leaders of five insurance companies who agreed to take part in a special Q&A article for this joint special section from Claims and Tech Decisions magazines.

The leaders include: Steve Hatch, chief claims officer, Zurich North America; Gary Givler, vice president and manager, claims operations at The Cincinnati Insurance Companies; John Foster, vice president, claims, for Farmers Alliance Companies; Mark Hoffman, claims technology manager, Esurance; and Ken Tolson, vice president, U.S. Property & Casualty Eastern Region, Crawford & Company.

Hoffman: Claims technology continues to play a critical role in the success of the claims department at Esurance. Our focus remains on providing our employees with the tools they require in order to provide exceptional customer service while maintaining fair settlements in an efficient and compliant manner. With insurers having “to do more with less,” technology innovations are a key driver in keeping expenses down while maintaining a consistent process of claims handling.

Are certain technologies becoming more crucial than others? Can you quantify the gains?

Tolson: When it comes to technology, the adjusting role started to change when we shifted from doing work on paper to using [electronic] claims systems. Mobile applications will continue that trend, and adjusters definitely spend more time entering data than before. However, their essential role as an interface between an incident and the ultimate resolution remains the same. Technology is not a replacement for understanding the process; it is an enabler.

Givler: At Cincinnati Insurance, we believe that service sells insurance and have consequently focused on removing clerical and repetitive tasks from field adjusters while at the same time enhancing their ability to provide cost-effective, onsite services. Technologically empowered adjusters better meet the expectations of our policyholders and move things along faster. They provide the best value when making decisions and working with people. Efficient operations involve focusing adjusters on these higher order tasks and eliminating all distractions and impediments to claims resolutions.

Has there been a fundamental shift in regard to the value insurers attach to mobile technologies or the way in which these tools are used?

Hoffman: Mobile technology has become a major focus for Esurance as we seek to duplicate and improve upon a desktop user experience. We are seeing exponential growth in consumers accessing dedicated apps and the mobile Web to obtain premium quotes, view policy ID cards, and claims information. Although it remains challenging to keep up with updates to mobile operating systems, Esurance is focused on providing the tools necessary for customers to access “technology when you want it.”

What kind of feedback do you receive concerning customer satisfaction with the claims process?

Foster: We are proud of our adjusters and the level of service they provide. This is supported by the positive responses we received from our customers. Is everyone always satisfied? No, but we hope to learn from those who are not, and see if there are ways we can improve the process so another customer doesn’t encounter similar disappointment or frustration in the future.

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