Canadian Underwriter

How the industry is addressing service level challenges

June 20, 2022   by Alyssa DiSabatino

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Consumer behaviour, supply chain issues and staffing shortages are among the reasons why service levels have been challenged in recent months, but revamping outdated technology and insourcing claims may help ease the backlog, say industry executives. 

Processing claims in-house helps speed up service to customers, panellists said during a discussion at the Young Brokers Conference last week.  

“We want to manage the service the consumer gets,” said Robin Joshua, president at Echelon Insurance. “Our claims were [outsourced] and we started bringing it in last year, and it’s now being internalized.” 

“We made the decision many years ago to insource all of our claims,” said Paul Stone, vice president of personal insurance, sales distribution and marketing at Travelers. “I think that it’s important to control the process and ensure the level of customer service your customers require.”  

Replacing outdated legacy systems is also crucial to speeding up customer-broker interactions. 

“We are completely revamping all our technology. We have some legacy systems that need to be replaced,” said Joshua. “Having good, modern technology is really important,” and updated BMS systems help from an efficiency standpoint by reducing manual and time-consuming work, he suggests.  

However, investing in the right technology is important for optimizing processes, said Stone. Both his and Joshua’s companies have begun using Guidewire Software products in recent months.  

Finding new talent has been an industry-wide struggle and that also may affect service levels, the panellists suggested.

Voluntary resignations and retirements over the last two years have actually started to pick up, so there’s this gap in terms of experience and bringing people in is a challenge for the industry in general,” Stone says.  

Consumer behaviour may also impact service levels, offered Louis Gagnon, president at Intact Canada, as many may want to spend more time on the phone with brokers. 

But it’s not just customers who are having trouble finding service — the issue runs industry-wide.  

“We have service challenges, from brokers being serviced by insurance companies, [to] customers having challenges being serviced by brokers,” said Colin Simpson, CEO of Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario and panel discussion moderator.  

Wait times of up to 50% longer to get car parts is not helping matters, Gagnon said. But the industry can no longer blame COVID for service slowdowns — despite service issues, the industry needs to step up, he added. 

“We’re in business, we have to bring our service level to the level people are expecting,” he said.


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