While expectations are not dwindling in the face of these challenges, respondents also complained that they are being given fewer resources to accomplish performance goals. According to a Towers Watson report, the bulk of 48 claims officers from small, medium and large insurers believe they have the authority to make a difference, but not necessarily "the range and depth of resources" to do so. To sidestep this detrimental trend, technology-in the form of electronic communications and processes-is being looked to as a bridge for the gap left by dwindling resources.

"Companies are employing technology to improve claims operations in many ways," the report states. "The primary applications are to advance operational effectiveness, replace/enhance core handling systems and manage litigation." The main benefits are "improving inventory management, enabling use of expert personnel, reducing allocated loss adjustment expense and improving customer service and outside vendor performance."

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