October 6, 2021 by Jason Contant
Consumers are looking for a hybrid claims processing model — an intermixing of virtual and self-service with human adjuster interaction, according to the Future of Claims 2021 Report from LexisNexis Risk Solutions.
“No matter how great the technology is, consumers still want a human touch when they need it,” the white paper said. “Consumers appreciate the convenience of online, self-service virtual processes, but when they want to talk to a human nothing else can substitute — not even the most personable bot. For consumers, there’s a direct and strong correlation between embracing automation now and into the future and knowing a real person will be there to help when they need them.”
In fact, having access to a representative dramatically increases consumer comfort levels with automated claims processes across every age group, and especially for Baby Boomers, the report found. Comfort level increases even more substantially among those who’ve recently submitted a claim.
And consumers who filed a non-injury claim since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 have indicated they would be even more likely to choose a mix of self-service and adjuster interaction for future claims, LexisNexis reported.
The white paper was released this April and applies to U.S. auto insurance carriers and consumers, but the findings could apply north of the border. For example, at the Reuters Events’ Connected Claims Canada 2021 virtual conference, speakers discussed the option of starting a claim off digitally, but then moving into human interaction. Think about a customer who decides they still want to speak with someone at the end of the claims process, said Philippe Lafreniere, chief growth officer with Slice Labs.
Lafreniere used the example of a frustrated consumer who has to go through an automated phone service and keeps pressing ‘0’ to try and speak to an operator. “We need to build in a zero button, and then have the insured be able to connect at any point that they want to again,” agreed Grace Leung, senior claims specialist with Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty.
“The sweet spot for claims processing overall seems to be a mix between self-service and adjuster interaction,” said the LexisNexis report. “This type of hybrid model provides the advantages of automated solutions along with a personal touch when consumers feel the need for it.”
This approach can apply to various stages of the claims process. Today, most claims are processed via conversations with a person, and that starts when the claim is first reported (first notice of loss).
“This is the best time to provide a self-service claim reporting option, especially when including a real person to help customers who have questions or need a little help reporting via self-service,” Bill Brower, vice president of auto claims with LexisNexis Risk Solutions, told Canadian Underwriter Tuesday.
A LexisNexis survey of 1,750 auto insurance policyholders in the U.S. found that 89% said they spoke with a claims representative more than once, and 76% spoke with more than one person before getting their claim resolved.
“Based on the survey results, I believe a hybrid solution is the best next step,” said Brower, who was the author of the white paper. “A simple app or text message can allow the claim process to move faster and minimize the number of conversations involved in resolving a claim.”
LexisNexis found in addition to online chat and insurer apps, text/SMS is also becoming a preferred channel for claimants and adjuster to communicate with each other throughout the claims process. “The acceptance of text/SMS seems to be universal across generational groups, which suggests that the acceptance of virtual claims processes might not be as generationally limited as stereotypes may suggest,” the report said.
Brower said text/SMS can be used during various stages of the claims process, such as for the following:
“Texting can be a customer-friendly channel as it avoids phone tag and allows for easier adjuster and claimant access throughout the claim process,” Brower said.
In the LexisNexis survey, 48% of insurer respondents “are seriously considering or piloting some form of ‘touchless claims’ process,” Brower reported. “The adoption by such a high percentage of insurers for a fully self-service claims process was a key finding from this study. I believe the pandemic accelerated this adoption for insurers as consumers have shown a much higher adoption of self-service options.”
Feature image by iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages