Following up our last post, we’ve continued to explore the impacts of automation on claims with Eva Berg-Winters, Former Head of UK Claims at Hiscox; Steve Tait, Head of Claims Automation at RSA; and Klaus Vogel, SVP Claims at IF P&C.

Automating the customer experience

In an industry that has historically been predominantly face-to-face, or at least phone-to-phone, there have been concerns in the past that a move to automation may suit the insurer more than the insured. Focusing on the company’s needs is almost always a sure fire way to damage customer experience. Tait assures us that this is not the case.

“Our customers’ expectations are being led by other industries not by the insurance industry. What our customer wants is immediate and efficient access to us. They want to know automatically what is happening with their claims. Managing customer expectations around what is going to happen in one week or in two weeks and keeping them updated is already something that we do. It has eliminated a lot of the contact points with our officers and we know in part it drives customer satisfaction.”

But it’s important to recognise that automating doesn’t create an either/or choice for the insurer. Instead, it is an either/and choice for the consumer. Berg-Winters explains: “You want to give your insured customers choice. In claims customers may prefer to initially notify their insurer of an incident by phone but might then prefer to receive further case updates via website. Speed and transparency are very important for customers and digital can play a strong role in delivering this.”

“We should not force any customers onto the automation track. Whether they report via an app or a contact centre, we should always give the choice of personal interaction as an alternative,” Vogel agrees.

Tait adds: “In the first stage you have AI helping to handle claims. It can say here is a claim that fits these characteristics and here are similar scenarios from past claims and this is what they have cost and why. It’s almost like having a small robot on your shoulders helping you make a decision, but it’s still ultimately down to the human. AI is not about entirely new processes but is about changing the culture we’ve been working in so the business is looking for these insights and wanting the support to act on them.”

Vogel acknowledges that offering multiple points of contact remains vital but also introduces an element of risk: “The business model for most claims handlers going forward will be a combination of automation and manual interactions with the customer. This will put a lot of demands on us as insurers in securing and giving good customer experience. If we fail in just one step in the whole process, either automated or personal interaction, it will lead to negative impressions.”

Using technology to support staff/customer interactions can deliver enhanced customer claims experience - merging speed with empathy, efficiency with understanding but it’s vital to make sure that processes are joined up.

There’s no point encouraging customers to self-serve by entering all their data on a web form, only to find they need to repeat it all to a call handler when they need to revert to more personal interactions. This can prove challenging for a single company to manage. When the insurer is trying to orchestrate the many parties involved in a single claim, the potential for disconnect in customer experience, enabled by technology or otherwise, is strong.

Joining up experience in the supply chain

The insurer’s relationship with their customer is not a simple one. While they bear much of the responsibility for the customer experience, they are only one of many parties delivering that experience during the claims process.

For the insured, they may have contact with emergency response teams, repair shops, independent assessors, temporary service providers (hire cars, rental properties, loan equipment) and so on, all of whom impact on the insurer’s delivery of customer experience. Anything that can help all parties deliver a cohesive level of experience is in the insurer’s interest.

“We need to guarantee that the supply chain is working as it should, is digitised and connected to the insurer. We can answer the claims calls quicker but if the speed and customer centricity doesn’t follow through the funnel to your suppliers, it won’t impact customer satisfaction,” Tait emphasises.

“The claims supply chain is absolutely crucial. Data is key and the ability to understand where repairs are happening. We need to be connected with different suppliers and create transparency in the chain. The worst result for us is when a customer calls to say our supplier should be there and no-one came,” he adds.

Berg-Winters explains that making information available automatically internally and to partners is a critical factor in keeping all the plates spinning effectively: “Our internal portal, Hisconnect, is really key in sharing information with our partners. We use that to exchange information, customer compliments and complaints as well as working together on governance processes.”

Vogel adds to Berg-Winters’ comment that managing internal processes is crucial by highlighting the need for companies to rationalise their technologies as much as possible, particularly where they work across multiple business units and geographies:

“A complicated legacy system landscape makes automation very demanding but not impossible. In an optimal world an insurance company should have one legacy system across countries that will make automation much easier.”

The journey towards automation is long and ever-evolving. While there are a number of clear benefits to the organisation, insurers have to look at implementing new technologies through the lens of all stakeholders: customers, employees and supply chain partners.

Leaving just one of these out of the equation leads to a disconnected experience that no amount of robotic speed will smooth over.

Claims Visionaries and Insurance Leaders Together at Connected Claims Europe Summit!

This article has been compiled in the lead up to the Connected Claims Europe Summit (October 24th & 25th, London).

Connected Claims Europe is an unmissable opportunity to leverage technology, such as AI, Machine Learning, Chatbots, Advanced Analytics IoT and more to drive business efficiencies and exceed customer expectations.

From automating the first notice of loss to digitising and connecting your supply chain, this is the ultimate meeting place for claims visionaries and leaders to gain inspiration and tools for immediate implementation from innovative insurance case studies.

For more information on Connected Claims Europe Summit, please go to our website ( or message me at