Canadian Underwriter

Why these company execs say claims isn’t yet ready for the future

January 23, 2020   by Adam Malik

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From left, Bryant Vernon (Aviva), Karen Mican (RSA) and Ewen Cameron (RSA) discuss the claims transformation journey at the OIAA Claims Conference in Toronto on Jan. 23, 2020.

Be it the Internet of Things, business process automation, environmental concerns, or a whole host of other emerging trends and challenges, the claims industry is behind the times when it comes to being ready to take these on these issues, a panel of claims experts told a recent conference.

“My view is that we’re not well-prepared,” Aviva’s chief claims officer Bryant Vernon said at the recent Ontario Insurance Adjusters Association’s Claims Conference in Toronto. “When we look at ourselves relative to high-tech companies, for example, we’re about a decade behind in a number of ways.”

One of those ways is expediting the customer journey through the claims process. Vernon used the example of the Domino’s app that allows customers to see the journey of their pizza from preparation to completion once they place their order.

“We’d like to see something like that in claims,” he said. “I think it’s a while away before we get there.”

Karen Mican, senior vice president of claims at RSA Canada, said the claims journey should also accommodate the communications preference of the customer, whether they want to visit in person, call, or go online.

“Are we prepared? Are we ready? Likely not,” she said, before adding that no matter what path the customer chooses, they must be moved along the journey in a timely fashion. “Customer preference determines their path. So how they come into the organization is how they prefer to come in…and how do we adapt to those preferences while at the same time creating a digital journey that has to underpin that change?”

RSA Canada claims senior vice president Ewen Cameron said insurance professionals also need to get better at helping clients prevent claims and build awareness around how to protect themselves, rather than simply reacting to an incident. He cited the recent snowstorm that hit Newfoundland; being better-prepared for events such as these might help reduce the stress on the claims process and help manage consumer demand during high-stress claims events.

“We have to think more about protecting the whole lives of the individuals and insureds that are dependent on us,” Cameron said. “Not only when there’s an event, but also in the day-to-day. I think there are elements of it, but from a technology perspective, we can do a much better job to tie into a broader ecosystem to protect our clients.”

But in order to do that, investment is needed, all three emphasized. “For all of us, the pace of change is tremendous but we just have to buckle down and do it,” Mican said.

“There’s going to be some suffering, because you’re going to have to invest, and you’re going to have to carry an additional expense load as you evolve because you need to retain your existing infrastructure while at the same time investing to replace it,” Vernon said. “That’s especially true for established companies that have existing infrastructure and established ways of doing business. It’s very hard to get alignment across the entire organization and say, ‘We’re going to make a material change in a way that we service our customers.’ It’s very hard to overcome the existing beliefs that you’ve held that has helped you be successful to this point.”

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2 Comments » for Why these company execs say claims isn’t yet ready for the future
  1. Shelley Sutton says:

    I completely agree with Ewen Cameron in that as an industry we need to provide the consumer more education on what insurance is all about and how to prevent losses rather than simply tell them how to make a claim. I have a passion for teaching and would love to do a road show in communities providing them the basics of the different insurance lines.

  2. Sandi Neely says:

    As a subrogation professional I have the benefit of seeing the claim “at the outset” and then delving into the “who did what or failed to do what” that caused a loss.

    As Insurers we can’t always subrogate if the Insureds “actions taken” or “failed actions” caused or contributed to the loss. However in some scenarios “if they had known what actions to take OR not to take” the loss might have been avoided.

    In general, as a result of subrogation investigations we often have valuable information (hind sight is 20/20) that if called upon as a resource, we might be of assistance in sharing ideas, and experience with scenarios that could prove of benefit in educating homeowners; and assisting in the “possible, prevention of losses”. I agree the focus is best spent there than on educating the public on how to make a claim”

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