WIL NEXT 2020: Next Insurance's Christine Pfeiffer

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Christine Pfeiffer is head of operations for Next Insurance, joining the small-business insurtech in 2017. She oversees operations and customer support, having been responsible for increasing automation in the customer journey to help it scale up. This includes implementation of chat- and voice-bots in the claims and support functions. Before Next, she worked at Uber. She was nominated by COO Sofya Pogreb.

What the nominator said
Sofya Pogreb, COO
"Christine is a fierce advocate for Next Insurance customers and her team. After joining Next Insurance, she helped build and scale our Center of Excellence, which comprises our customer advocacy team in Austin, Texas... Whether leading a function she’s intimately familiar with or taking on something new, she’s known for her exceptionally quick learning, analytical mindset, and strategic outlook. Above all, Christine is an inspiring and empathetic leader loved by her team."
Digital Insurance: To what behavior, personality trait or practice do you assign the most credit for your success in your career so far?
Resilience, hands down. Building my resilience muscle has allowed me to view crises and major setbacks as just another decision point, rather than a panic-inducing moment. As a leader, I am constantly making decisions; some of them are more difficult to make than others, some larger, some smaller.

[Before NEXT] I was working for a company whose biggest night of the year at that time was New Year's Eve, meaning that we also expected to start receiving very large volumes of customer service contacts beginning around 11pm and continuing for the next 24 hours. For my customer service organization, this was our World Cup moment. That morning, as I was preparing for a full night of work ahead, I got a call from my main workforce manager on the East Coast. Our internally built customer service platform had experienced a bug that had prevented thousands of customer support contacts from successfully generating and therefore had gone unanswered for several days. We had raised concern earlier in the week about volume and had been assured by engineers that everything was working properly. This meant that rather than going into our biggest night with a clean queue, we had thousands of contacts to triage and work through and a staff that was not yet aware of the backlog. In this moment, I could have decided that we had lost our World Cup, but my resilience kicked in and allowed me to start attacking the problem immediately. This reaction felt completely normal and it allowed me to create a plan for my team's success without wasting valuable time. I'm proud to report that we managed the next 48 hours masterfully and met our highest priority targets.
Digital Insurance: What is your favorite, or least favorite, part of working in insurance?
My favorite part of working in insurance is just how large of an opportunity I have to help people thrive. When I first joined the industry, the size of the opportunity was not overwhelmingly obvious to me. Over time, you realize that you can really help propel a person's—or in our case, a small business's—success. You can save a small business time, money, and stress by leveraging all of the data we have (thanks to our digital approach) to ensure that a customer has the right coverage, at the lowest possible price, almost instantly. This positions them to win more jobs, have adequate protection in the event of a claim, and direct their hard-earned financial resources to growing their business. It is really remarkable.
Digital Insurance: Is there an area of insurance you see as needing improvement from a digital perspective?
Today, claims adjudication for third party claims is very manual. A lot of valuable time is wasted on waiting for things like pictures, receipts, and other kinds of documentation that is needed to ultimately pay out a claim for the right amount. Meanwhile, the customer is waiting and stressed about the incident that led to the claim in the first place. We have an opportunity to transform the claim submission touchpoint by leveraging technology (think chatbot or voice AI) that not only guides but also encourages the customer and other relevant parties to submit all of the necessary information and documentation on the first touch and at their convenience. This means that they can receive payment as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Once this is solved, we can build on that by automating claim decisioning since we have all of the necessary information, and one day be able to instantly pay a claim and make a customer whole again.