Claims Survey Looks at Partners in Excellence

Carriers, vendors working together allows claimants to receive the best possible service

The relationship among carriers, software vendors, and policyholders requires great attention, particularly for the insurers and their software partners, who often become the focal point when a policyholder files a claim.

Aite Group examined the relationship in a survey of North American property & casualty claims executives (North American P&C Vendors: Partners in Claims Excellence) that studied examined every aspect of their claims operations from claims software to claims services, according to Stephen Applebaum, senior analyst, property & casualty insurance, Aite Group.

Survey respondents rated vendors and their products in three areas: Do you use the software; what is your perception of the performance of that software; and what is the perception of the cost of that software.

“The overall theme is carriers are 100 percent dependent on vendors for achieving claims excellence,” says Applebaum. “The vendors, in many cases, are the face of the insurance company when it comes time to resolve a claim and the way in which the vendors behave is critical to retention. They are vital partners. The way the industry rewards the companies that do the best job is really apparent from the survey. They rise to the top.”

Applebaum describes claims as “the moment of truth” for p&c carriers. The average policyholder only files a claim once every 10 years, so when that happens, the claimant wants to feel the insurer appreciates those 10 years of premium payments.

“The claim is more often than not triggered by a traumatic or at least unpleasant event,” he says. “At this time of high anxiety, the typical claimant needs and expects prompt and attentive assistance.”

Applebaum explained the report detailed some interesting points concerning the use of rental cars while claimants have their car in a repair shop.

“Enterprise is a wonderful story in that the vendor can become a partner in claims excellence,” he says. “I challenge you to find a body shop of any kind—whether it be a national chain or a local independent—that doesn’t have either an Enterprise rep on site some portion of the time or an actual desk inside the shop.”

Bigger name car rental companies, such as Hertz and Avis, never completely took the time to understand an insurance replacement rental is a different transaction with different automobiles, according to Applebaum.

“You can’t afford to put fully- featured cars in an insurance replacement fleet and still offer an insurance company a $25-a-day rate,” he says. “Enterprise has nailed the business model that allowed them to provide insurance companies with the lowest cost and highest level of service and literally outsource the entire rental car process.”

Applebaum estimates that 90 percent of insurance companies don’t lift a finger to deal with the rental car. As soon as a claimant informs the insurer they need to take their car to the shop, Enterprise takes over electronically and handles the work.

“The amount of rental insurance coverage that is now in the general public has increased from 10 percent penetration 10 years ago to 80 percent now, whether they pay an additional premium or it is included,” he says “It is a high customer-service touch point to provide an easy car rental experience.”

Some of the conclusions from the report include:

  • The use and application of analytics solutions will continue to grow exponentially.
  • Accelerating vendor industry segment consolidation will continue to impact carriers, claims costs and service, and small independent single-solution vendors.
  • Vendor management software solutions are becoming mandatory.
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