Chief claim officers from U.S. P&C insurers said loss cost containment and delivering superior customer service are their top claim operational goals, according to a new P&C claim officer survey conducted by global professional services company Towers Watson.

Eighty-nine percent of the 35 CCOs surveyed by Towers Watson in June and July 2014 ranked loss-cost containment as either their primary or secondary claim operational goal, followed by delivering superior customer service (71 percent).

Survey respondents also emphasized the importance of proactive claim handling. More than 80 percent of the respondents said it is the most important driver in delivering effective loss containment, while the same percentage said proactive claim handling is also the primary factor in delivering superior first-party claimant customer service.

CCOs indicated that proactive claim handling is key for delivering superior allocated loss adjustment expense (ALAE) efficiency (69 percent), though they named effective litigation management (89 percent) as the top consideration for ALAE.

“Claim officers recognize the success of their organization comes down to people first and foremost, and that starts with the claim-handling staff,” said Frank Ramsay, Towers Watson’s North American claim management practice lead. “According to the survey’s findings, CCOs say their claim handlers have extensive technical expertise and experience, and generally are empowered by their supervisors to deliver superior claim results.”

But claim organizations also have several competing priorities that take file time away from their claim handlers, Ramsay said, which in turn detracts from their highest priority: managing the files they have been assigned.

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