As a CEO, I make it my job to stay abreast of insurance industry trends. Very little truly surprises me, but earlier this year I read something that made my jaw drop: a publication from McKinsey claimed that by the year 2030, automation would reduce the current head count associated with claims processing by 70-90%.
Reflecting more about this statement I tend to believe that while this is technically possible I don’t think it will happen so radically – in fact, I believe this would actually be a questionable development for the insurance industry.
It is true that a few key things drive claims management and policyholder satisfaction: ease of use, quick resolution, and excellent claims handling. These are actually so vitally important to the customer that they are considered to be just as, if not more important than, the price they pay for insurance. Add in the fact customers want transparency and immediacy with regard to claim status, and what you get are carriers striving to make major innovations in the claims space. As the McKinsey article suggests, these advancements will no doubt have great impact on the way we manage claims by the year 2030.
But as we innovate and digitalize the claims experience, one key piece cannot be forgotten: the personal connection we make with the customer during what can be a very emotional time in their lives. This is why I believe we would be doing a disservice to our customers if we move to completely automating claims management.
Yes, standard auto and life insurance claims can in fact be highly automated. Yes, our organizations all have significant opportunities to optimize back-end processes with the use of robotics and other technologies. And yes, we can enhance the claims adjudication process with artificial intelligence, automated and digital solutions.
But I genuinely believe – and this is my very personal opinion – that it would be a big mistake to completely take the human element out of the equation. There are many claims that benefit from human interaction and an empathetic, helping hand My own visit to Texas after Hurricane Harvey solidified that importance to me.
In ten years’ time, a digitalized claims journey is a must. Every carrier must take advantage of and implement technologies such as digitized claims reporting and status tracking, auto-adjudication, video inspections, remote industries, IoT for the prevention of claims, and much more. But we must be careful to not completely remove the human from the process.
And while our business models may shift to resolving a certain type of loss using only digital means, it is our responsibility to give our customers the choice in how they interact with us. If the customer prefers a personal interaction, or if the customer doesn’t desire to use the technology we have developed, we must provide them an alternative that is comfortable for them – and that is a level of empathy that can only be delivered by a human.
Article By: Andreas Kleiner