This webinar was recorded in the lead-up to the Connected Claims USA Summit.

The voice of the customer has never been so important to business; a growing number of customers now rely on the reviews and experiences of others to help guide their purchasing decisions, and this trend will only increase as millennials come to make up a greater portion of insurance carriers’ customer bases.

This should be viewed as a positive development. Customers, after all, vote with their wallets and a scenario where carriers provide what customers want (rather than what is best for them) can only drive standards higher.

The claims process is where the customer experience can be best impacted and so it is no surprise that it is currently in sharp focus. Customers want choice in how and when they engage, as well as the information they receive, but during a claim, when a distressing loss may have occurred, the importance of human empathy cannot be understated. To deliver these aspects requires a digital, yet humanized, claims experience.

In an intensely competitive environment, how can carriers identify ‘quick wins’ to maximize the impact on customer experience and efficiency for minimum output and disruption?

Insurance Nexus held a webinar with claims experts from five companies currently focusing on improving the claims process with digital technologies: Bea Rolbiecki (AVP Senior Experience, USAA), Patrick Klas (Associate, American Family Ventures), Daniel Regan (Vice President, Financial Services, SAP Ariba), Allan Robinson (EVP Field Operations and Sales and Chief Claims Officer, Horace Mann Insurance) and John Langowski (EVP, Chief Claims Officer, Swyfft).

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Throughout the webinar, the most striking consistency was the importance all panelists place on the customer; “Put customers first when building your digital experience” says Bea Rolbiecki. This means understanding the customer journey, what they need to do and how they feel at each stage of the journey. By identifying where bottle necks and pain points are, investment can then be prioritized to deliver the maximum impact on the customer experience.

This is a significant departure from past practice, when investments, technological or otherwise, were usually made with profits and board member dividends in mind. Instead, the inverse is now advised. Swyfft’s John Langowski asks of any proposed change, “what would a panel of policy-holders think of this?”. It can be easy to be attracted to the new and unknown, but “don’t just grab the next best thing out there”, he warns; investment must be targeted to specific customer needs.

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Our discussion also highlighted the importance of the relationships between carriers and claims service providers; there is a “definitely a fear of start-ups,” says American Family Ventures’ Patrick Klas. Understandably, carriers might be hesitant to devolve responsibility of their claims processing to a third party who does not have the experience or reputation of a legacy insurer. Rather than see them as “attackers”, however, Klas opines that companies such as Lemonade and Hippo have succeeded in raising industry standards and this will not change. Customers prefer, and now expect, digital, personalized and seamless experiences and it is now up to carriers to ensure they meet these standards.

A final point will hopefully reassure those who fear job losses due to the ‘rise of the machines’; according to Rolbiecki, the whole aim of digitizing the claims process is to deliver a “sympathetic and connected claims experience”. While AI can do much that humans cannot, providing a sympathetic ear in the face of a distressing loss is not one of them. Horace Mann’s Allan Robinson goes further, claiming that “from a claims adjusters’ perspective, the idea we won’t need adjusters is wrong”. Incorporating aspects of AI, intelligent automation and robotics will allow for straight-through processing of less complex claims, meaning adjusters and investigators can focus on more complicated and ultimately, more interesting claims. This will actually make insurance, particularly claims, a “more interesting…and more fulfilling role”.

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This webinar was run in conjunction with Insurance Nexus’ upcoming Third Annual Connected Claims USA Summit 2019, taking place June 5-6, at the Marriott Marquis Chicago Hotel, Chicago. Welcoming over 750 senior attendees, Connected Claims USA is the world’s largest gathering for claims executives striving for efficient, customer-centric claims processing. More information can be found on the website at