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Novarica: Tech Transforming P&C Claims Amid Downturn

Carriers are moving forward with existing core claims systems initiatives and investing in emerging technologies such as analytics, fraud detection, geographic information systems, mobile applications and Web 2.0 to drive operational efficiency and improved customer service.

A new report by research and advisory firm Novarica finds that P&C insurers continue to invest in claims related technology solutions despite the economic downturn. Carriers are focused on the benefits of emerging technologies to improve both loss ratios and loss adjustment expenses and improve retention, according to the study's findings.

Over 50 percent of P&C companies polled by Novarica are sticking with their proposed technology budgets and 13 percent are planning to spend more, according to Karlyn Carnahan, principal, insurance practice, Novarica. Among technology projects, claims-related initiatives are the least likely to be derailed, with only 2 percent of respondents saying they will postpone them.

"P&C carriers are looking for ways to improve operational effectiveness and deliver growth, and claims is one of the areas they're investing in," Carnahan comments. "In fact, 33 percent of carriers surveyed say that claims is one of the top three projects they're focusing on for 2009."

In addition to upgrading core claims systems, insurers are investing in a wide array of emerging technologies to gain operational efficiency or improve customer services within their claims operations, according to Carnahan. "Hot areas for carriers include analytics, fraud detection, geographic information systems, mobile applications for adjusters and, of course, Web 2.0," she says. "Other newer areas that are emerging include networked estimating, telematics, pre-paid cards and mobile applications for consumers, such as iPhone or Blackberry apps."

Carriers are increasingly using social networking platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Ning to solicit customer feedback, Novarica's research reveals. "Some carriers are creating LinkedIn Groups to maintain connections between alumni and

current staff to enhance knowledge sharing," Carnahan relates. "And some are evaluating the benefits of creating a social networking site for tips, stories, advice from policyholders to each other."

Novarica's report includes details of carriers use of social networking and other emerging technology applications. It identifies more than a dozen named examples of claims technology initiatives from P&C carriers such as Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, Chubb and Allstate, according to a Novarica press release.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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