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Nov 13, 2013

Using Enterprise Apps for Customer Service in the Insurance Industry

enterprise-apps-customer-service-insurance-industryIn a recent post, we talked about the potential for implementing enterprise apps on the retail sales side of the insurance industry. However, insurance carriers -- especially those handling property and casualty policies -- can also benefit from mobilizing operations, especially processes that are consumer-facing. Good customer service is one of the most important driving factors in retaining an insurance customer, an industry in which it costs 5-10 times as much to win new business than it does to retain a current customer. Great customer service is needed the most in the claims resolution process, where it can have the biggest impact on a consumer’s ability to get back to normal after a car accident or another disastrous event. After experiencing a traumatic event, the last thing a customer wants to deal with is a long, drawn-out claims process with their insurance company. The faster they can resume their normal life, the happier they are and the more satisfied they will be with their insurance company. In fact, according to a study done by one industry player, 90% of customers who were satisfied with the speed of claims handling were likely to stay with their insurer. But how does a carrier go about mobilizing the claims process? The best way is to start with the people who work in the field: the insurance adjusters. Even the most basic of mobile capabilities such as location-based services and email connectivity can help them to obtain job details from the home office and efficiently plan their site visits to keep customers waiting as little as possible. Claims adjusters have also been very paper-based in the past, taking information from the customer on paper, then entering it into the computer to do the estimate when they return to an office, which can cause time delays and mistakes. In addition, field adjusters often need to capture information about the claim such as accident site photos or videos. To address these issues, some companies have implemented mobile solutions that completely mobilize the life of a claims adjuster. For example, Wardlaw, a claims service provider, uses enterprise apps for their adjusters that includes; adjuster check-in, the ability to view all assigned open claims on a map, photo uploads to the main system, and customer communications right from the app. For a carrier, implementing an enterprise mobility solution can increase the productivity of its agents -- providing a faster, more frictionless settlement process for customers, while more accurate and multimedia claims evidence can increase the success rate of collecting from another at-fault party, if applicable. Insurance companies have also been able to mobilize the claims process with consumer-facing apps that link to their enterprise systems, such as Allstate’s recently launched QuikFoto app for minor damage that allows a consumer to take pictures of the damage and process their claim without ever having to see an adjuster or go to a dealership. However, challenges do exist when deploying these types of mobile solutions. There are many different processes that must work together (notification of loss, inspection, estimates, payments, etc.) and must be connected to the carriers’ back-end enterprise systems that contain data such as parts and labor repair costs that must be considered in reimbursement estimates. Data security and different types of access for varying groups of employees is also an important consideration, as adjusters might need different functionality than their supervisors, and device-sharing may occur for adjusters who work at a central location. Fortunately, there are vendors who specifically address these challenges, who can offer a mobile application management (MAM™) approach that enables carriers to provide secure, role-based access to their mobile applications, and to help customers design solutions that optimize their business processes and integrate seamlessly with their back-end systems. With the ROI of mobile solutions for claims processing at 30% or more of the company’s current claims processing costs, mobile seems like an insurance policy in itself. Can any successful insurer risk NOT making that investment?


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