Pen's Perspective On… Claims, brains and tech collaboration
Published On : 08 Apr 2020
BY GARETH CROSBIE
When we reflect back on the evolution of claims processes and practices, speedier service and efficiency enhancements tend be the natural bedfellows driving technology-based interventions and remote-working innovations.
Yet, faced as we’ve been with the sudden reality of a nation in lockdown, where social contact is all but forbidden, technology has become a more important friend than ever to those of us committed to claims resolution. A vital friend in fact.
Because even in the midst of all the restrictions and limitations placed on our lives to try and mitigate the devastating effects of the coronavirus, ‘normal’ insured losses don’t suddenly stop happening. And those that have happened still need to be managed and progressed as best we can.
Necessity, we have learned, can be the mother of technological intervention, as well as invention.
And necessity has meant remote evaluation, assessment and resolution have quickly become our default option.
Although those of our loss adjusters who are designated key workers retain the ability to head out to sites in instances of major loss, vulnerable customers and fraud concerns - while maintaining social distancing of course - every claims call is now triaged with technology to the fore as we look to quickly agree the best approach within the current restrictive parameters.
Here in Pen, we’re certainly thankful for having invested in both our own capabilities and collaboration with industry partners in a way that enables us to fulfil many claims functions remotely.
Alongside our partner Davies Group, for example, the use of video from first notification of loss in domestic escape-of-water claims (with claims handlers also trained using virtual reality to facilitate creative solutions and quicker decision-making) is now well and truly embedded as the norm having been launched over a year ago. So we’re still able to quickly identify vulnerable customers, evaluate severity of damage and quickly agree a course of action with insureds, even from the confines of our own new ‘workplace homes’.
Designed originally to cut the claims lifecycle for customers, and reduce average indemnity spend, that re-engineered process is now delivering added value and better customer service for entirely new reasons.
And encouraged by its success we’re now actively examining video technology against other perils to determine its suitability.
The same goes for drones. Introduced into our armoury as a less costly alternative to hiring cherry pickers or erecting scaffolding when evaluating the extensiveness of damage at height, the value of such unmanned but highly accurate inspection services can now come into their own.
And while commercial claims typically present a different challenge in terms of scale and complexity to most domestic claims, the powers of remote video assessment are emerging strongly there too, thanks to the innovative solutions invested in by loss adjuster partners.
SUPPLIER SURVEY AT SPEED
When we saw the very real prospect of a lockdown looming a month or so ago, we quickly surveyed all our panel suppliers. It was imperative that we established quickly not only how they would deal with claims going forward as a result of policyholders having to self-isolate, but the growing prospect of physical closure of their own premises and a home-working mandate for their colleagues too.
The remote video assessment solutions of Sedgwick and McLarens have been particularly impressive – able as they are to have the insured guided under the direction of a remote loss adjuster to move around and gather audio and visual data, with technology that can take measurements, survey damage and enable the adjuster to quantify losses in a way that will progress claims even in the absence of in-person inspection.
As one leaseholder on a damaged property who worked with a Sedgwick loss adjuster during lockdown to ‘survey’ the premises using their SightCall solution explained: it’s not the simple technology that impresses - but the knowledge of what it enables. The difference between a claim moving forward with a contractor engaged, rather than it simply being deferred, perhaps indefinitely. Ultimately, if someone has to come out to the premises, they know they are already a long way down the line to having the claim resolved.
But even more stand-out than the capabilities of these technology-based alternatives in recent weeks, has been the morale, motivation and can-do attitude of all my claims colleagues inside Pen and out. Life has changed immeasurably for all of us, but the focus on doing all we can to put customers lives back together remains a constant.