A big shout out for the National Guard who so effectively managed the logistics of getting a needle into my arm couple of weeks back in Illinois. Now, perhaps it really isn’t too soon to be thinking “what next”. Here are some thoughts…

The impact of the virus has been widespread. Everyone has been affected in some way, wherever they are in the world. Many “non-essential” workers have been working from home for many months with mixed feelings. Some relish the prospect and feel more productive; others miss the familiarity of widespread travelling. One thing that is for sure though, is that we’ve all become used to communicating virtually via one of the numerous conferencing platforms, which in all probability broadens the expectation on the part of the consumer to be able to transact any sort of business from the comfort of their own home. Meals, groceries, clothes, all where you are also kept fully informed at every step of the way on order from dispatch and delivery. So why not every element associated with an insurance claim, all on a mobile device?

Business Volumes.
Retail sales are showing sure signs of recovery, road miles are increasing, general levels of activity are slowly returning. From an auto perspective claim frequencies are still significantly behind pre-covid levels with some auto carriers last year returning premiums to their policyholders. But as normality gradually returns there is no doubt that volumes will return. How confident are you that the extra volumes will be handled effectively. Is resource still available, is their sufficient operational headroom to cope?

The use of a digital engagement platform would certainly ease potential pain. Allowing customers to self-report, then driving the claim with an increased level of automation. Removing the mundane administrative tasks that take up so much of an adjusters day means more time for adjusting, and automated communication will mean less calls of a general nature. If financial pressures have led to cost bases being reduced, the opportunity exists to keep them low through digitization.

The Competition.
The competitive landscape has changed. There will be some uncertainty with regard to pricing moving forwards – who will blink first? Some have taken the opportunity over the past year to take a more digital approach and have successfully stripped costs from the business. Those that have adopted the no-code approach, such as 360SiteView from 360Globalnet Inc, are now in better shape than they were 12 months ago and perhaps more resilient to the next major event. The very nature of no-code platforms brings agility and speed as standard, future-proofing insurers for the next unforseen challenge ahead.

History does repeat itself, but the question is how often?
The world was in chaos post World War 1 when the Spanish Flu pandemic hit hard. Now 100 years on, international travel being much easier meant the spread of COVID-19 was inevitable.

Now, as vaccines roll out, there is uncertainty around their effectiveness, particularly against the variants that seem to form our of mutation quite quickly. Where carriers have endured the pain it might be a good time to consider their operating model. It is OK to engage virtually, and people feel more empowered when a digital solution to a claim is offered and subsequently used. My advice would be don’t fall into a cycle of pain, when the pain can be eradicated more effectively than COVID.

Have we changed - have we changed enough?
Are we in an industry that is used to suffering at the time of catastrophes, be it hurricanes, tornados, hail, fire etc, that we just get on and do what we’ve always done rather than finding a way to break out of the loop? If COVID-19 wasn’t a big enough wakeup call, and a catalyst to drive transformative change in the Insurance industry in general, then I really don’t know what will be. Some have embraced digital and are starting to see the benefits, others may feel a bit like a deer in the headlights.

If you’re an insurer who feels that you have some challenges that digitalization will resolve, we'd be delighted to have a no-obligation chat with you. A typical program to digitize claims has two benefits that COVID does not. It’s relatively pain free and doesn’t last long.

If you'd like to find out more about how we can help accelerate your digital capabilities, get in touch today for a no-obligation chat.

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Article by Andrew Peet, Head of Operations, Americas.

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