Using technology in claims. It’s important for insurers to balance technology and policyholders’ needs in a claim. (Photo: Shutterstock)

No one disputes that the claims process is changing radically and technology is allowing adjusters to significantly expedite their response to policyholders. However, with all of the improvements, carriers are acutely aware that there is a fine line between automation and maintaining personal contact with their customers.

A recent report by LexisNexis found that balancing the use of automation and empathy is the secret to customer satisfaction during the claims process. Bill Brower, vice president of claims at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, shares that when he started in claims, three or more people touched a claim and 30 years later that is still the case. However, he says technology can expedite the process while improving customer service. “Customers want to tell insurers about their claims and we have developed a prefill solution for getting information from claimants. At the first notice of loss (FNOL), carriers can now electronically confirm a claimant’s information and the ability to use prefilled data changes the focus of those conversations.”

Automating claims simplifies the process and allows companies to bring the claims data in once, confirm it and then move onto more important aspects of the claim to help the insured recover faster. “In total loss claims it takes 2-3 weeks for the customer to be paid,” explains Brower. “The delay is due to a lack of information, the need for callbacks, getting a power of attorney, lienholder information, payoff details and additional information. LexisNexis is looking at providing data that can take that process down to 1-2 days.”

Keeping policyholders happy

Millennials, in particular, are extremely comfortable with increased automation, but Brower says it’s important for insurers to balance technology and policyholders’ needs in a claim. Technology permits information to be preserved and transmitted almost instantaneously, but some clients still prefer speaking with an insurer.

Cellphone cameras can capture high-quality accident photos, which are transmitted to a claimant’s file, helping adjusters identify what services the policyholder needs while reducing the instances of fraudulent claims. FaceTime and similar applications enable a remote adjuster to walk a property loss with an insured so the claim can be triaged and processed immediately.

The LexisNexis report found that touchless claims, those handled via automation or artificial intelligence to determine coverage and payment, are growing in popularity, with 79% of the carriers surveyed indicating they were open to or at least considering its use in their companies.

For consumers, automation can mean less time spent filing a claim, having a self-service option so they can handle the claims at their own convenience and speaking with fewer people throughout the process. It also shortens the cycle times for claims, which is good for everyone. Their one complaint is that carriers are still asking too many questions during the FNOL.

On the carrier side, those who automate some portion of their claims process are seeing an increase in employee productivity since attention can be focused on more complex claims or other aspects of the claims, as well as a reduction in processing costs and loss adjustments because of resolving claims faster.

“It’s encouraging that claims automation adoption is progressing and that carriers are continuing to implement and leverage automation to improve efficiency, reduce costs and remain competitive,” says Brower. “The next 3-5 years will be the most rapid time of change we have seen in the industry.”

For more on this topic, plan attend the America’s Claims Executive Leadership Forum & Expo in Las Vegas from June 24-26.