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The future of claims

Blog post   •   May 12, 2017 17:11 BST

Graham Gibson, chief claims officer, Allianz Insurance

It's claims Jim, but not as we know it!

Ok, my Star Trek analogy might not be the best, but imagine the scene. Your car's involved in a collision and needs to be repaired. Rather than call your insurer to make a claim, the vehicle communicates directly with your insurer's claims department, the garage and your digital personal assistant to validate the claim and arrange a convenient time for the work to be done. This may sound like science fiction but, given the pace of technological advances, it's closer than you think.

And it's a very welcome advance too. Using technology to take care of smaller claims delivers a much slicker customer experience, reflecting the public's expectations and feedback. Already customers have seen improvements with the introduction of online claims services and the next wave of digital solutions will build on this.

Automation also reduces the potential for error. As well as happier customers, this will mean fewer complaints.

Brokers stand to benefit too. Greater automation of claims creates more room for consultancy, shifting advice away from price and much more towards the claims service associated with an insurance product.

Insurers will also gain. Offering digital processes that benefit customers helps to put insurers on a par with companies such as Apple and Amazon that have a strong customer-centric culture.

They'll also reap the benefits of other technological advances. For example, improvements in vehicle technology will override human error and result in fewer claims while greater use of drones will make assessing some claims simpler, faster and more cost-effective.

But getting to this point isn't simple. Insurance companies will need to ensure their claims departments evolve and are able to deliver the level of service customers expect.

A key part of this, and one that insurers must support, is a change in core skill set. Although empathy will remain an important quality for anyone dealing with the larger and more complex claims, our people will need to be much more “tech savvy” to support the range of digital solutions available for smaller claims, in a data driven world.

In the claims department of tomorrow it will be the norm for staff to be able to access and interpret the data surrounding these smaller claims and, rather than wait for IT to schedule a systems change, amend programming themselves to refine and improve the service for customers.

Change will also happen quickly. In exactly the same way that consumer preference has switched in a relatively short time from voice calls to texts and then messenger services, insurance customers will expect our service to mirror that of the leading retail and technology companies.

The latest cutting-edge claims service may only last a matter of weeks before it's superseded. Against this backdrop, the ability to respond instantly to these demands will be essential. Our aim is to become a digital default business and being part of Allianz means we have access to resources and solutions from across the group. For example, the Allianz Digital Factory in Munich is developing ideas all the time which we can quickly adopt to provide digital solutions to meet our customers' needs.

With a period of rapid change ahead of the insurance industry, a combination of agility and customer focus will be key to survival. After all, fast forward five years, and you won't recognise the claims service of today. It will be claims…….. but not as we know it!

Graham Gibson, chief claims officer, Allianz Insurance.

This blog first appeared in Post magazine 12 May 2017

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