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Customer-Centric Solutions: The Need of the Hour

By Steve Messina, Sr. Vice President Insurance Operations, Bankers Insurance Group

Steve Messina, Sr. Vice President Insurance Operations, Bankers Insurance Group

Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Usage Based Insurance, self-driving cars, and Cannabis are just a few of the challenges staring down Property and Casualty(P&C) companies. Product managers are reeling to adjust products to accommodate these emerging demands while simultaneously balancing the rapidly changing customer experience expectations.

How does an industry rooted in regulation, complexity, and vagueness engage and build meaningful relationships with its customer base? Disrupters such as Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Amazon have forever altered customer expectations through simplification and transparency. While regulation itself can’t be simplified, adding transparency to the processes and claims experience can be accomplished through innovative uses of existing technology.

With the emergence of cloud-based policy administration and claims systems, P&C carriers now have the necessary tools to improve the customer experience by offering a window into the claims process. True transformation in this space will require system providers to enhance their current offerings and provide more dynamic solutions wherein transparency for the consumer becomes core functionality. Solutions would include segmentation of system features by claim; first party, third party, questionable claims, etc. Additional features such as toggling on and off the visibility of documents, payments, and claim notes is vital. While the need for transparency is not a new concept, and there is an insurer of high-net-worth customers which has already embarked on this journey, some population of claims professionals are cringing at the idea of sharing this level of detail. In opposition, they’ll cite organizational risk, industry jargon complexity, and waiver of privilege as a few of the challenges that will be voiced. In contrast, how much claims leakage could be recaptured if the customer had visibility into the claims process and trusted their carrier? Although claim’s transparency is not without risk, the primary challenge is that very few policy administration/claims systems currently on the market provide the necessary sophistication to allow carriers to execute on this vision.

"With the emergence of cloud-based policy administration and claims systems, P&C carriers now have the necessary tools to improve the customer experience by offering a window into the claims process"

In addition to transparency, another age-old challenge with P&C carriers is that of communication. The industry relies on voice-to-voice, email, and traditional mail to communicate with its customers. In recent years the industry, predominately on the auto side, has begun the transition to text using push notifications to consumers via SMS text. These are typical “one way” SMS solutions which do not afford the consumer the opportunity to respond or ask questions. While these platforms allow carriers to check the “texting capability” box, there’s very little value added, if any, to the consumer experience.

AI, coupled with full SMS texting, will continue to redefine how Millennials and Generation Z’s interact with the P&C industry. These consumers will not settle for voice mail tag or time consuming and delayed email communication. They have been conditioned to receive an immediate resolution to their questions.

Platforms such as Hi Marley are working to bring AI and SMS together while maintaining the human touchpoint in the perihelion. Initial use cases included SMS claims texting and completion of underwriting self-inspections. As part of the claims use, customers can text photos or videos of the loss, thereby mitigating the potential for damage to be enhanced. Contact with the customer is simplified via text, voice-to-voice contacts and appointments can be scheduled in real-time without the trading of voicemails, and emails, thereby reducing overall cycle-time and improving customer experience.

In summary, it’s time for P&C carriers to transition from complex processes and archaic technology to customer-centric solutions that embrace transparency and communication mediums as per customers desire! 

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