The customer- easily overlooked on innovation’s path, and the continuous need for insurance companies to keep the customer as the ultimate focus of any innovation efforts.
It’s a good week to revisit a favorite topic of mine; after presenting sessions on mobile claim applications to adjusters at the Property and Liability Research Bureau’s regional conference, the reminder was clear- apps need to have the customers’ service needs as their core, or why use them? Clever tools are just novelties if all they do is validate an executive’s efforts to prove a firm is being innovative, or allow an adjuster to impress a customer without making that customer’s claim journey shorter, more time economical, less stressed, or better resolved in terms of recovery. The insurance innovation path is littered with examples of good intentions gone awry- just ask any property adjuster who tried to work with integrating a leading estimating software that is PC-based into an IOS tablet option- the two aspects did not play well together yet some really big insurers supported that marriage. The company names will remain unmentioned but those who know, really know. And so do untold thousands of customers who were (and in many respects still are) under-served in the ensuing claim process.
#innovatefromthecustomerbackwards . Seems pretty simple, find an issue customers are dealing with, identify tools or methods to deal with those, design tech/processes to mitigate the identified adverse effect, roll them out, be an anointed unicorn- lather, rinse, and repeat.
Let’s keep it simple for this week- are there insurance innovators who are simply looking to make communication easier or more available for claim customers, focusing on customers’ need to know and working backward through the process and making it happen? I suggest there are, and of those that may be manifold, here are a few that stand out:
- Insurx– this ‘down under’ firm is a third-party administrator (TPA) who is an outsource for claim handling, and a firm that stresses customer communication. Of course, TPAs have internal and external customers, don’t they: the carrier/MGA/vendor or agent, and the end insurance customer. Serving the former well gets continued business, and serving the latter well gets the former more business. The firm’s tech application/innovations advertise many things, but here are the keys per this author- a personal claim portal with which the claim customer can know what is happening with his/her claim, and this- real-time customer sentiment capture that provides the TPA’s handlers and carrier an immediate measure of how the pat to customer sat is being followed. Even if the method is only half effective it is an innovation of handling perspective. Founder is Sam Ratcliff, I was tuned into Insurx by a post shared by Nick Evans.
- ClaimSpace another Aussie firm (Aus turning the traditional insurance world upside down), one that provides transparent and effective claim and service applications to carriers. Yes, there are many InsurTechs that are focusing on that space, but as with Insurx the company’s stated goal is to provide customer transparency options for the firm’s carrier collaborators. Founders Giberto Spencer and Alfonso Marquez, and the connection who clued me in to the firm, COO Aurora Voss.
- An early adopter of the transparent to the customer concept, Symbility, and Claims Connect . I became aware of the firm during investigation into using their claim platform (an apt competitor in the property space with Verisk’s Xactimate). And while the organization has grown beyond its trendy Toronto, Ontario offices through its acquisition by Corelogic, their purpose remains- keep all claim participants engaged in clear claim communication, data handling, and easy access to claim status. James Swayze is Symbility Solutions’ CEO, but my original connection was with Paul Crowe and Anthony Lipkin, now serving different roles/customers with Intersect
- Mike Daly is a connection I met virtually through reading his blog, InsurTech World. Getting to know this author/influencer caused me to realize he works with another firm that has claim process efficiency/customer transparency at its heart, 360 GlobalNet . Founder Paul Stanley and team look to “revolutionize the insurance claims process and customer service experience with innovative technology.” Really easy words to place in a website’s “what we do” section, but over the almost ten years since founding the firm has worked to put some reality behind the words, including being shortlisted jointly with Allianz for best use of technology for customer experience
- And a final example of a firm that through its methods helps carriers migrate to a more effective customer service place- Sunlight Solutions. Again, there are many firms in this space of insurance process redesign, but many of the others have migrated to a competent but less sense of urgency world. Sunlight places its understanding that its carrier partners need innovation transformation now, at a reasonable cost, meaningful to their business timeline, and in a cloud-based environment. It’s a full aspect offering as led by CEO Didier Lamour, and well-explained to me by David McFarlin. Prompt, adaptable, with utility- customers benefit sooner from tech adaptations.
Five examples of tech being developed/formed from what customers need and working backwards to innovative solutions.
Now to get the InsurTech world to place the customer-first concept onto its conference and publicity marquees? That’s the Insurance Elephant’s continuous effort- absent the customer being the end focus, it’s all just a tech pursuit, isn’t it?
Here’s my poster-child example of the industry working to do great things but not acknowledging the customer in a manner for all to see- this week’s Insurtech Roundtable 2019 by The Insurance Insider at the Rendez-Vous de Septembre (see Matteo Carbone ‘ post here).
The event headlined nine great questions to focus on through the efforts of ten really smart, connected insurance thought leaders, however the customer is not mentioned in any of the questions. It’s certain that customers were discussed but the concept needs to be on the headline.
#innovatefromthecustomerbackwards- not just a hashtag, but a mantra for today’s insurance innovators.
Patrick Kelahan is a CX, engineering & insurance professional, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners. He also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’.
I have no positions or commercial relationships with the companies or people mentioned. I am not receiving compensation for this post.
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