The Use of Technology Helps Streamline Claims Processes

By Allan Robinson, Senior VP of Field Operations, Horace Mann [NYSE:HMN]

Allan Robinson, Senior VP of Field Operations, Horace Mann [NYSE:HMN]

The P&C claims process has been significantly improved by new and emerging technologies, helping streamline the process for insurance companies, as well as the customer. New claims systems, smartphone apps, drones and telematics are just a few of the new and emerging technologies that are making the claims process easier and more efficient for everyone involved.

Sophistication of Claims Systems

Claims systems have helped insurance companies create more efficiencies when serving their customers. With a single sign-on, a claims specialist can help a customer get information about all parts of their claim, and the claims specialist and the customer don’t have to go to three or four different sources to track it down. With all that information captured more readily in one place, there is better vendor integration. A claims specialist can review the medical management, first notice of loss, rental car management and more all in one spot, allowing the more efficient service for the customer. It also translates into a better customer experience because the customer is serviced more quickly.

These new claims systems also help protect against abuse and fraud, which helps keep pricing in line for all customers. Special Investigative Units (SIU) can use data and analytics from the claims systems to flag potential abuse or fraud. Data and analytics also can inform the best strategy—the amount of resources you might want to apply to an SIU unit, the amount of opportunity and segregation and the types of claims that should be handled. They also help to better predict outcomes on claims in terms of payment and severity patterns, which can help with pricing and rate.

Smartphones improve claim detail. Today, customers are accustomed to using their phones to get tasks done. Phone apps to make a claim help expedite the process and keep the customer involved and informed. Now a customer can take pictures of damage and complete an auto claim just by using their phone, without having to wait for an adjuster. That claim with photos is pushed through a rules engine to determine what type of damage there is and what repairs might cost. Adjusters then assess the report and can get a check issued.

"Special Investigative Units (SIU) can use data and analytics from the claims systems to flag potential abuse or fraud"

While the customer interaction with a phone app has not been as prevalent on the homeowners’ side, it certainly is an area with potential. You can involve the customer by having them videotape or photograph damage, and then we can construct the estimate and close the claim. However, not every peril allows for that type of claim. For instance, hail damage is typically something better suited for an adjuster to inspect, to make sure the damage is new, and not old. But the new technology helps get better information on the front end, helping pinpoint the claim, and handle it quicker. Utilizing this new technology allows customers to give detailed information about the claim on the front end. The new technology allows for more detailed questions and answers during the first notice of loss builds a better inventory list, which is then compared to a set of rules and validated. Things like the age of the home, policy limit on the dwelling and how many claims the customer has had are also considered to make sure there are no red flag indicators. The claim is then scored and a settlement is determined. The new technology speeds up this process.

Drones and Telematics

Also making an impact on the claims landscape is the addition of drones and telematics. Drones are assisting in areas where there may be a lot of claims or where it may be difficult to see damage. Adjusters can get pictures of damage more readily, assess it and get the customer answers on the claim more quickly. And while telematics are being used more and more to assist customers with their premiums, they can also be used for the claim process. They may help determine severity following an auto accident, what systems may have been damaged and what actions the driver took during the crash. All of that may help adjusters better understand the damages to the vehicle.

The combination of good customer service and use of the latest technology will continue to improve how claims management is done in the industry, benefitting both the industry and its customers.

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