If only my insurance company treated me like my bank does – wait, what?

Because of the technology experiences we often have with progressive banks, retailers, airlines, and others, we’ve come to expect that from all the companies we do business with – including insurance. Here are four best practices to investing in the claims customer experience.
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In order to stay competitive, insurance companies need to adopt stronger customer communication practices, including omni-channel service and cloud technology.

I’m not always the biggest fan of my bank, but I have to admit that when it comes to my “consumer experience,” they’ve spoiled me. I can access account activity and details across multiple channels ­– I’ll always get the same information through each – and if I need to know about a specific activity they contact me immediately through my preferred method. So why can’t my insurance company do that?

In a recent Property Casualty 360° article written by David Port, Patti Griffin and Matthew Josefowicz recommend nine best practices for leveraging technology to elevate the claims experience for insurance customers, and I think they nailed it. Because of the technology experiences we often have with progressive banks, retailers, airlines and others, we’ve now come to expect that from all the companies with which we do business. And because the claims experience is often the most important interaction we have with our insurance carrier, I think that Griffin and Josefowicz are right to label technology investment in this area “a strategic imperative.”

Four of their best practice steps really stood out to me:

Move to strengthen communications with customers. Just as I get notifications by text, email, push notification or automated voice that I have a low balance or potential fraud on a bank account, claims systems should be configured to let me know the status of a claim and even make it easy for me to view it on my phone. Griffin and Josefowicz point out that customers should also be notified of “a pending weather event, for example, or for accepting claim-related photos and information provided by a claimant.”

Deliver a seamless, omni-channel claims experience to customers. Not only can I self-serve with my bank through my PC, my smartphone and by calling into their IVR, I can do it in a variety of ways, using an automated chat function online, or if need be, interacting with an agent. Regardless, the information I’m accessing is always up-to-date and consistent. But my insurance company doesn’t seem to be there yet – I find myself going “old school” and emailing my insurance agent. I love my agent, but is this really what they want my brand experience to be?

Embrace the cloud. According to PC World, two years ago, 84 percent of companies were operating in the cloud and more than half of them stated that the cloud reduced their IT teams’ workloads. Unfortunately, many insurers are running off of 40-year old claims administration technology, says a recent TrustMarque report. Insurers need to modernize their infrastructure so that valuable IT talent can focus on consumer-facing applications and interfaces.

Choose systems and software providers wisely. Griffin and Josefowicz encourage carriers to “look for companies that have a strong commitment to R&D (and) software and systems that are flexible.” I’d add that you want vendors that are forward thinking when it comes to self-service. What kind of self-service channels are they able to offer now? How do they work together? What’s their vision for the future, including artificial intelligence and its use in cross-selling to customers?

We’re entering a period of opportunity for insurers to differentiate themselves on consumer experience; which carriers are going to emerge as leaders? The more I think about it, the more I want my insurance company to treat me like my bank does – did you ever think you’d catch yourself saying that?

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Vance Clipson

About Vance Clipson

Vance Clipson, senior principal, industry solutions for Nuance Communications, focuses on vertical-specific marketing and strategy with an emphasis on healthcare. Clipson brings 25 years of experience translating industry needs and data into market strategy and programs for Milliman, PacifiCare Health Systems and the American Cancer Society.