The roadmap to claims automation: key technologies and milestones for insurance companies
The insurance sector is undergoing significant changes in claims management, driven by rapid technological advancements, evolving consumer preferences, and a vast influx of data. This transformation aims to combine the efficiency of digital tools with the irreplaceable value of human interaction at crucial touchpoints.
As consumers' expectations for speed, accuracy, and transparency grow, insurance companies are pivoting towards cutting-edge technologies to reinvent the claims journey.
This blog post provides a clear roadmap to navigate the exciting terrains of claims automation, focusing on pivotal technologies and milestones.
Understanding the present: where are we?
Technological advancements and shifting customer preferences are catalyzing a change in claims management. By 2030, a blend of technology and human touch is anticipated to streamline the claims journey. This evolution is vital in navigating challenges such as inflation, supply chain issues, and talent crunch. The end goal is not just automation but enhancing the efficiency of claims handlers and providing customers with options and high-quality interactions.
The claims transformation journey ahead involves three crucial steps:
Step 1: Automate Claim Intake
The first step is automating claim intake. This can include automating the process of collecting customer data, categorizing claims into appropriate buckets, and routing them to the right handlers. Automation also includes leveraging AI for detecting fraud and using ML algorithms to predict future claims.
Step 2: Streamline Claim Processing
To streamline claim processing, insurers must re-evaluate existing processes and leverage RPA to automate manual and repetitive tasks. AI-driven solutions can also be leveraged to accelerate the decision-making process and enable claim handlers to make faster, more accurate decisions.
Step 3: Enhance Customer Experience
Insurers must focus on delivering a seamless customer experience. This includes providing customers with real-time updates, offering self-service tools for simple claims, and providing contextual next-best actions. These efforts will ensure that customers receive personalized, efficient service at every touchpoint of the claims journey.
Driving forces behind the claims evolution in insurance
Claims evolution is being shaped by a myriad of driving forces, each pushing insurers to revisit their existing models and adapt swiftly. Let's delve deeper into the key drivers:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML): These technologies enable predictive modeling, which can anticipate claim incidents and automate parts of the claims process, such as fraud detection and claim routing.
- Automation & Robotics: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and other automation tools have made it possible to streamline manual and repetitive tasks, significantly reducing the claim processing time.
- Blockchain: This decentralized ledger system offers potential solutions for fraud detection, secure data storage, and smart contracts which can automate claim payouts under specific conditions.
Changing customer preferences
- Instant Gratification: In an era dominated by the likes of Amazon and Uber, customers expect immediate responses and faster claim settlements.
- Digital-first Approach: More consumers are comfortable managing their policies and claims online, preferring digital platforms for interactions.
- Transparency Demand: Modern customers demand transparency in the claim process, expecting clear communication and real-time updates.
- Internet of Things (IoT): Devices such as connected cars and smart homes provide real-time data, enabling insurers to assess risks better and predict potential claim incidents.
- Big Data Analytics: With the vast amount of data available, insurers can gain deeper insights into customer behavior, claim patterns, and potential frauds.
- Inflation and Economic Uncertainty: These factors necessitate a more efficient claims process to keep operational costs in check.
- Supply Chain Challenges: Global disruptions, as seen during events like the COVID-19 pandemic, have emphasized the need for insurers to have agile claims processes to address large-scale events.
Social and regulatory changes
- Social Inflation: Rising litigations and jury awards, especially in countries like the U.S., are pushing insurers to refine their claims processes.
- Regulatory Push: Governments and regulatory bodies are emphasizing transparency, fairness, and speed in claim settlements, prompting insurers to innovate.
- New Generation Workforce: Millennials and Gen Z, entering the insurance workforce, are tech-savvy and expect digital tools at their disposal. They bring fresh perspectives, emphasizing a digital-first approach.
- Skills Shift: With the introduction of new technologies, there's a growing need for roles specializing in data analytics, AI, and cybersecurity.
Industry innovators and disruptors
- Insurtech Firms: Start-ups and new entrants are introducing innovative models, compelling traditional insurers to evolve or risk becoming obsolete.
- Collaborative Ecosystems: Partnerships between tech companies and insurers are becoming more common, driving tech-enabled innovation.
These driving forces, collectively, are not just shaping the claims process but are redefining the entire insurance value chain. Insurers that adapt and embrace these forces are poised to lead in the next era of the industry.
The roadmap to claims transformation
Step 1: assess your digital maturity level
To redefine the future, first, grasp the present. A good starting point is analyzing the current digital maturity level. Assessing the existing processes and technologies, insurers can identify their strengths and weaknesses and devise an effective roadmap for claims automation.
This assessment should cover the following key areas:
- Data & Analytics: Evaluate how data is collected, stored, analyzed, and used to drive decisions.
- Processes & Workflows: Analyze existing processes, workflows, and systems to identify areas of improvement.
- Customer Experience (CX): Assess customer interactions in terms of responsiveness, transparency, and overall satisfaction levels.
- Cybersecurity: Assess the cybersecurity infrastructure and its effectiveness against potential threats.
Step 2: set up your targets
Once the digital maturity level has been assessed, it's time to start drawing up a roadmap.
Depending on the digital maturity of the organization, an ideal automation roadmap will include different milestones:
- Setting up an automation taskforce.
- Automating basic tasks like document processing, customer notifications, and payment verification.
- Implementing AI and ML for predictive analysis and fraud detection.
- Leveraging data from connected devices to detect potential threats in real time.
- Automating the end-to-end claim journey with Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
- Establishing blockchain-based smart contracts for automated claims processing.
- Utilizing natural language processing (NLP) for automated customer support systems.
- Developing cutting-edge AI solutions such as chatbots and voice assistants to facilitate the full lifecycle of the claim journey
Your roadmap should aim to achieve a balance between technology and human touch across the claims lifecycle. While some tasks can be automated, others need human intervention to ensure customer satisfaction. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Short-term vs. Long-term Goals: It is important to define realistic and achievable goals over both short and long periods of time.
- Process Automation & Digitalization: Identify areas where processes can be automated and digitized, from customer onboarding to claim payment.
- Resource Allocation: Assess the resources available – both human and technological – for successful implementation of the roadmap.
- Partner Selection/ Collaborations: Evaluate existing partners in terms of their capabilities and select additional ones if needed.
Setting the gold standard: milestones to strive for
Automation is the key to unlocking operational efficiencies and setting a higher standard for customer experience. A roadmap should include milestones such as:
- End-to-end Automation: Automate claims processing from start to finish, eliminating manual and repetitive tasks.
- Digital Channels & Platforms: Deploy digital channels and platforms for customer interactions and enable customers to self-serve.
- Real-time Insights & Predictive Modelling: Leverage data and analytics to gain real-time insights into customer behavior, fraud detection, claims pattern analysis, and predictive modeling.
- Seamless Integration: Integrate systems across multiple channels for a seamless user experience
- Digital FNOL: Empower policyholders to report claims via diverse digital avenues - be it mobile apps, web platforms, or chatbots
- Quick Turnarounds: Aim to wrap up clear-cut claims within a day, capitalizing on AI, RPA, and analytics.
- Minimal Human Intervention: Strive to automate at least half of the claims, reserving manual checks for complex cases only.
- Fluid Communication: Establish a smooth communication flow across platforms, ensuring customers can switch between chat, call, and email effortlessly.
Step 3: Keep the human touch in a digital era
Remember, automation augments, not replaces, human roles. As the data points to, people still prefer human interaction – especially when it comes to claims.
Therefore, even with an automated roadmap in place, human resources should not be forgotten. Here are some tips that insurers can consider to ensure a seamless experience for customers:
- Human Touchpoints: Designate roles and processes that require human involvement and supplement them with technology and automation.
- Digital Triage: Use AI to triage claims and delegate them to the appropriate personnel
- Smartbots & AI Assistants: Leverage technology such as chatbots and virtual assistants to provide round-the-clock support.
- Automation: Deploy feature like automated call routing, IVR, and voice bots to streamline customer interactions.
- Elevate Skills: Regularly train team members, preparing them to work in harmony with automated systems.
- Iterate with Feedback: Make feedback-driven refinements a norm, ensuring the system remains attuned to user needs.
- Stay Agile: Stay agile and open to changes. It is important to review the roadmap on a regular basis, ensuring it’s in line with customer needs and industry trends.
- Test & Validate: Prototype ideas to experiment with new technologies and identify weak links in processes.
- Integrate: Deploy the right technology mix across your claims management process.
- Evaluate Performance: Monitor and measure solutions implemented to tune up performance.
The bottom line
The path to automating claims is a dynamic blend of tech adoption, revamping processes, and continuous adaptation. By treading this path, insurers can ensure they're not just speeding up claims but also refining accuracy and bolstering customer trust. The dawn of automated claims is upon us, and this roadmap lights the way forward.
Get the latest
on going digital