September 16, 2019 by Jason Contant
Want to create an excellent customer experience for your clients? Make sure you are picking the right vendors, says Hans Reidl, senior vice president of claims with Economical Insurance.
“The supply chain… are the ones that are actually doing the work for our customers to get them back up on their feet,” Reidl said last week at Insurance Nexus’ Connected Insurance Canada conference. “Therefore, you can’t create a great customer experience if you haven’t picked the right vendor base.”
While many industries have done a lot to advance the customer experience, in insurance, it’s not where it could or should be, Reidl said, which creates the wrong impression in the customer’s mind. “They believe when they have a claim, for example, that by default, our main job is to deny the claim when in fact our job and our contract is to help them out in a time of need and get them back up on their feet.”
In insurance, a massive amount of money is spent on the supply chain, so it’s important to pick the right vendors. “What vendors are doing the best job?” Reidl asked. “What contracts do we want for those vendors? What performance metrics do we want for those vendors? Particularly where you’ve got hundreds of them – there’s hundreds of auto repair shops, hundreds of property contractors – how do you pick the best one?
“I think there’s also a big opportunity to think about which of those partners could be a bit more strategic in nature, either because they have data sets that you can use and you have data sets that they can use or because very fast integration is mutually beneficial.”
Think about the following scenario: A customer has a car accident and calls in a claim from the side of the road. After determining that there are no injuries, the insurer sends a tow truck company from its own network, as opposed to a nefarious operator. The customer can also book a rental car from a company that the insurer trusts, and book it into a shop that has the capacity to deal with that specific make and model and the vehicle will not end up getting redirected elsewhere.
“So, you can kind of see that can create a much better customer experience if that happens on your first phone call, those details are taken care of,” Reidl said. “They also get into a network of companies that you have better contracts with that you have confidence can deliver the service on time and better cycle time. Certainly, if you recommend for them to go to a certain repair shop or a property contractor that you’ve recommended and they take you up on it, you have to have confidence that supplier is going to deliver, otherwise the experience isn’t there.”
A faster cycle time could mean things like property damage doesn’t get worse, less rental car days and fewer tows. At the same time, the insurer could order the parts because they know what’s damaged through artificial intelligence and “therefore get the parts on order so when the car shows up, the parts show up at the same time and you don’t have a delay.” AI could also help identify fraud.
“It’s really through the supply chain and workforce that you really could drive superior performance,” Reidl said. “This is operating performance, but it’s also setting the stage for the customer experience and if you don’t have the supply chain and the workforce creating the environment for the customer, you’re not going to have a great customer experience.”