Canadian Underwriter

What adjusters can learn from technology disruptors

January 29, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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Adjusters who want to improve service for claimants could take a few pointers from companies outside the insurance industry.

“When I look at customers today, their entire experience of how they want to be dealt with has been shaped outside of insurance,” said Monica Kuzyk, vice president of Curo Claims Services and past president of the Canadian Independent Adjusters’ Association. “Think about when they buy something online. Think about when they order up their programs through Netflix.”

Kuzyk spoke during a panel discussion at the recent annual joint conference of the Ontario chapters of CIAA and the Canadian Insurance Claims Managers Association. The conference was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Jan. 22.

Kuzyk alluded to the fact that Netflix recommends shows to subscribers, and a screen will sometimes appear asking a Netflix subscriber whether he or she is still watching.

“When I fall asleep it says, ‘Monica are you still there?’ This is the kind of connectedness that customers have today. And so when we look at what we need to deliver to customers, we need to deliver an individualized experience.”

Panelists were asked by moderator Becky Cameron, senior vice president of Aon Risk Services, how the industry has changed over the past five years.

“In the auto market, they [claimants] are taking their own photos of a damaged bumper and sending it to the insurer,” said Stephan Roy, director of disaster restoration at ServiceMaster of Canada Ltd. “And some of those things are coming into the restoration world. For example, having customers – not just adjusters but also the end-user – available to see claims notes and updates.”

“Everyone has a phone,” added Kuzyk. “If it’s an uncomplicated claim, use your insured as your conduit to get information. They can take a picture of a basement that is flooded. They can take a picture of a pipe that has burst and they can take a picture of the bumper.”

Another topic of discussion was workplace stress faced by adjusters.

In the spring of 2018, it seemed as if there was one catastrophe event in Canada every other week, Kuzyk observed. “You can’t keep your staff in that heightened state of urgency for long periods of time. It does result in burnout. You have to start thinking about things differently and how you provide relief to them.”

One way managers at claims organizations can provide relief is to question whether certain tasks are actually necessary.

“There is a lot of fake work that’s done [in the insurance industry],” said Kuzyk. “You see people really, really busy but there are no results from that. So you were really really busy doing that [task], but what was the outcome?”

One example of “fake work” could be a report that someone in the mail room has been generating every day for more than 15 years, but does not get read by the recipients of that report, Kuzyk suggested.

“When you start looking at the roles within your organization and you start looking at all the accountabilities underneath them, you think, ‘Is that really necessary anymore?’ You can start re-visiting where you allocate work.”

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