There was an interesting tidbit for technology people hidden in Accenture’s recent insurance consumer fraud survey (registration is required). The point I’m referring to is not related to fraud, but rather how claims are submitted to insurers.

In the report, authors Michael Costonis, managing director of Accenture’s North American insurance practice, and Jim Bramblet, Accenture’s North American claims lead, write:

While consumers who have recently filed a claim were most likely to have done so through an agent (48 percent) or through a call center (46 percent), the survey indicates that people are making greater use of the Internet to file claims. According to the survey, the number of Internet-based claims has increased from nearly zero in 2003 to seven percent today. U.S. adults over the age of 34 prefer dealing with agents, while younger individuals prefer direct channels such as phone and Internet, according to the survey.

Seven percent may not sound like much, but it does show the slow–but inevitable–move toward electronic claims processing. The fact Accenture reports the number of electronic claims submissions was zero as recently as 2003 shows the industry is making considerable progress.

On a personal level, my last claim came in 2008 and I went through the Nationwide call center to report the loss. I’m well above the age of 34, so I really don’t understand why people continue to call their agents to get the claims started. Your case is going to be assigned to an adjuster anyway, so why take the extra step?

I guess the positive angle is that if you put call centers and the Internet together you are over 50 percent, which definitely is a start.

I’ll choose to look at this as a positive effect, even though the industry would love to see that number at least tripled by now. What kind of results are you seeing for electronic claims submissions with your company? Let me know what you think.