As insurance providers face challenges like risk and compliance, efficiency and expense control, it's essential that IT decision-makers like CIOs and senior technology executives invest in technology that addresses these key pain points. Particularly for businesses that provide homeowner's insurance, reducing costs by adopting technology that improves the claims process is a must.
According to J.D. Power & Associates' 2013 Property Claims Satisfaction Study, the average property claim settlement amount is $8,517 for U.S. homeowners, up 7% from 2012. The study also shows that customer satisfaction with personal insurance industry providers is still high, reflecting the industry's commitment to providing the best service for its customers, despite increases in the frequency and severity of property damage in the U.S.
While continued focus on customer satisfaction by the industry is crucial, claims adjusters need to balance the increased settlement amount awarded to policyholders. One way to balance this cost is through cloud technologies, which can be used for document management, reducing the amount of time spent on locating documents and maintaining communications throughout the claims process.
By adopting cloud-based solutions, claims professionals can focus on getting more work done during the day and maintaining customer satisfaction by streamlining the following three processes, reducing additional costs:
1. Accessing documents and files on-the-go: With the frequency of property damage and disasters on the rise, claims adjusters often spend their days in the field. While on-site and assessing damages, having access to documents via the cloud allows claims adjusters and agents to review and update policyholder files and documents. Although keeping hard-copies of documents in the office is needed, cloud-enabled solutions eliminate the need for hard-copies of documents on-site.
In addition to making day-to-day claims processes more efficient, adjusters can use the cloud to ensure accurate documentation. No more scrawled notes or lost documents--the cloud makes document management, even outside of the office, simple and accurate. Many cloud-based document management solutions can be accessed through tablets, allowing claims adjusters to simply open a needed document, update, save and track document versions. Adjusters can also capture pictures for damages documentation and upload them directly to the cloud. Not only does this make the claims process easier for the agent, it also ensures timely resolutions for policyholders.
Tips for CIOs and technology executives: Invest in cloud solutions that make document management during the claims process easy and accessible. Provide your team with secure access to policyholder files outside of the office, where an abundance of their work takes place and meeting policyholder expectations is essential.
2. Creating opportunities for collaboration: For businesses that provide homeowner's insurance, many professionals are often involved in assessing, restoring and resolving a claim. Not only are adjusters handling multiple claims simultaneously, but they're often required to work with outside agencies in order to settle claims efficiently.
Managing all of the information provided by notable parties, evaluating multiple edits, determining final versions and finally sharing it with the insurer can be time consuming. Also, with so many different parties in the mix, multiple versions of edited documents are often created and shared, which can cause confusion or mistakes in finalizing the claims process.
Tips for CIOs and technology executives: The creation and sharing of content is no longer geographically bound or limited to filing cabinets--in today's world policyholders have access to tablets, cloud solutions and mobile devices, and so should claims adjusters. Utilize the cloud to make collaboration between agents, vendors and policyholders easy.
3. Ensuring secure documentation: Claims adjusters and agents typically handle personally identifiable information (PII) on behalf of multiple policy holders throughout their day-to-day processes. Although utilizing the cloud makes the claims process more efficient, ensuring the security of documents and PII is an essential responsibility of insurance professionals. In addition, in the wake of a disaster, policyholders rely on their insurance agents to keep their claims documentation safe. Storing files digitally in the cloud keeps them protected from unexpected natural disasters as well as unwelcome security threats.
Tips for CIOs and technology executives: To ensure that your agency's policyholder information is secure from day-to-day and during disasters, make sure your cloud service provider (CSP) delivers encrypted data transfer, as well as encrypted data rest. In cases where the highest security standards need to be enforced, invest in solutions that meet Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards.
For insurance companies, reducing costs, maintaining customer satisfaction and ensuring an efficient claims process is integral to a successful business. CIOs and technology executives of these companies should guide their businesses in the migration to the cloud, which will help streamline the claims process and meet customer expectations in today's evolving insurance climate.
About the author: Aaron Weiss is the director of marketing for LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions in the Printing and Personal Systems Group of Hewlett-Packard Company. Aaron's organization is responsible for driving the product and marketing strategy for a portfolio of document management, workflow, capture, mobility, security and fleet management solutions targeting the SMB and enterprise customer segments.