Claims is making great progress on the innovation journey. Over the past few years, claims organizations have been adopting a more innovative culture that furthers their progress in the areas of efficiency, effectiveness, and customer experience. All areas of insurance can benefit from innovative thinking, of course, but we have seen particular trends in innovation within claims that highlight a unique approach.

Every claims department has its own ways of doing things, which have evolved in response to many factors besides efficiency and effectiveness. Changing regulations, past or present technology restrictions, company philosophy, and even individual preferences have all had their effects. No claims executive will tell you that their claims department is fully optimized and could not be improved. They are constantly striving for more efficiency and more effectiveness.

In SMA’s recent research report, "The Changing Face of Claims: How Innovation Is Fueling Claims Transformation", we investigate current activity and future plans for innovative approaches in claims, focusing on each of the three elements of claims: restoration, mitigation, and prevention.

  • Restoration: Adjusters are benefiting from technologies that allow them to do their jobs better and more safely. Drones and aerial imaging allow adjusters to assess a dangerous situation from a safe distance, as in the case of a bridge that has collapsed during a CAT event. Assistive technologies like Google Glass give adjusters a novel way to collaborate: less-experienced field adjusters can be sent on-site with the ability to collaborate remotely with a more experienced adjuster who can see what they see and provide guidance. Junior staff can learn on the job and senior staff are spared excessive travel, allowing them to work with many different adjusters in many different locations simultaneously.
  • Mitigation: IoT technology has especially high potential in this area. Smart IoT devices of all shapes and sizes are enabling early detection of damage or dangerous situations. One recent example is leakSMART, a leak detection device that alerts the policyholder and the insurance company when a leak is detected to stop water damage early. The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm works on the same principle. Similar devices exist for imminently dangerous situations, such as an unattended stove in an empty house.
  • Prevention: Technology-assisted safety is a real opportunity for claims. Autonomous vehicles have been widely discussed, but that is primarily in the area of passenger vehicles. Autonomous commercial vehicles hold just as much potential to transform the transportation industry – and possibly on a shorter timeline. Driverless trucks are now in on-road testing in Europe.

Claims executives that are focused on the challenges of today and tomorrow are embracing these and other innovative solutions. They actively drive adoption and promotion within their claims departments. They also play an important role in the ideation that fuels further transformation. Business models are changing, customer expectations are changing, products and services are changing, and maturing and emerging technologies are changing. Insurers must change and adapt their claims operations in all three elements – restoration, mitigation, and prevention – in order to truly transform into Next-Gen Insurers.
This blog entry has been reprinted with permission from SMA.

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