3 Keys to Engaging Today’s Connected Customers in the Claims Process

With shifting demographics and disruptive advancements in technology, customer expectations around insurance are shifting too, and that matters more in the claims experience than at any other time.

(Image credit: Dollar Photo Club.) 

We are in the midst of shifting demographics. According to the December 2014 population projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the millennial generation is projected to outnumber the Baby Boomer generation as the nation’s largest living generation. The Gen X generation is expected to surpass the number of Boomers by 2028. Furthermore, by 2050 minorities will represent 54 percent of America. With these shifting demographics and the advancements in technology, customer expectations around insurance are shifting too, and that matters more in the claims experience than at any other time.

Everyday transactions and personal interactions are now completed with the swipe of a finger. Consumers are more empowered to share experiences over social media, and customers expect self-service capabilities when dealing with ancillary finance and insurance (F&I) products. It’s a nonstarter without it.

In the F&I industry, there is a range of customers served including OEMs, national brands, agents, dealers, repair shops, insurers and lienholders.  When dealers’ gross margins shrink, ancillary F&I products are even more important to customer satisfaction, repeat business and referrals. Providing self-service capabilities removes barriers, and enables customers to locate status of F&I claims and resolution almost immediately.

The easiest and quickest way for insurers to better connect with customers is by transforming claims processing and including mobile capture to allow more self-service capabilities.  When transforming claims processing, approach it with three goals in mind:

  1. Eliminate friction.

By eliminating the friction in back-end systems of records you reduce the number of touches and hand on a file. Automating the ingestion of contracts and supporting documentation will eliminate redundant processes and tasks, such as classifying and extracting data for manual input. It’s not unheard of for a check to be touched several times before it’s sent to the insurer; this is not efficient, especially if you process several million contracts annually.

Approach the process with a clean slate and identify best practices for the adjudication process. With the automation of the systems of records connecting with customer-facing systems of engagement, consider how job roles can change to match the new process.

  1. Create an environment for proactive customer engagement.

Encourage self-service, and empower customers to engage throughout the process. Adding mobile capture capabilities enables users to send photos of supplementary documentation via their mobile device directly through your mobile app, thereby having an enormous impact on claims resolutions. Incorporating real-time visibility into the status and stage of the claim will further reduce status calls. In fact, as much as 50 percent of inbound calls are checking status on a claim, payment or cancellation.

Regular communication is key to customer engagement. Best practices include notifying a user electronically every time there is a communication and sending updates about the claim with frequent reminders.

  1. Measure your results.

It’s imperative to have a quantifiable goal and measure the results. Insurers’ claims transformation can be impacted in several areas. Claim touches can be reduced by as much as 75 percent; the claim adjudication process decreased by 80 percent; and status calls decreased by 25 percent.

Revamping the claims process for today’s connected customer is just the start of the journey. There are still opportunities to improve payment processing, cancellations and vendor management. However, no matter which generation we are working with, it’s about transparency, self-service and empowering our customers to engage.

David Caldeira // David Caldeira is senior VP, Product and Solutions Marketing, Lexmark.

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