Articles - Harnessing digital media in insurance claims

The impact that the digital revolution has had in just a few short years is undeniable. The explosion in popularity of social media and the accompanying proliferation of mobile apps highlights that we are now more connected than ever before. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have quickly become household names, enthusiastically adopted as vital life tools that help us plan our social schedule, keep in touch with far flung friends and family and share our opinions and experiences with the world in 140 characters.

 Luigi van Geest, Executive Vice President Sales at Roundcube discusses how insurance companies must harness the power and reach of digital media to provide better customer service at the critical moment a claim is made – the ‘moment of truth’.

 In a business environment, the impact has been skewed between those industries which have forged ahead to become digital evangelists and those which have been reticent to dip their toes into the social media waters. While some sectors such as advertising, broadcast and technology have reaped huge rewards from the kudos of being early adopters in digital, gaining dividends from a deeper and wider engagement with their target audience, others have lagged behind, unsure of their next move in the complex and ever evolving social landscape.

 For instance, the extent to which insurers are adapting to and embracing social media with their customers varies enormously – despite the opportunities presented to create sustainable competitive advantage. As society increasingly interacts online, digital media are shifting the traditional power balance and influence away from insurers and towards customers – corporate and retail alike. With industry commentators predicting that 2.5 billion people will be online by 2015, it is imperative that insurers acknowledge this shift and change the way they operate accordingly or risk losing a key level of control in their customer interactions. Failure to recognise that business as usual now includes factoring in the online community at every stage will soon begin to negatively impact insurers’ bottom lines.

 How can insurers make social interactions work for them?
 Customers are increasingly savvy across the board about the offers and options that are available to them. We have seen this with the healthcare industry, where patients will search for their symptoms online, and self-diagnose without consulting a doctor. Currently the ‘show rooming’ trend is gaining pace on the high street, with shoppers visiting a physical store to try on or test out a product then go home, log on and buy the product online from a different vendor at a lower price. This is exactly what insurance companies are struggling to keep up with and where digital media can help.

 Today’s customers do their homework. They consult dedicated price comparison sites to research insurance products, read specialised blogs that review claims performance, and ask their twitter followers for opinions on which insurer is offering the best house insurance deals. As a first step, establishing Twitter and Facebook profiles allows insurance companies to interact with agents and customers beyond the bounds of a traditional website.

 How can insurers interact better with their customers?
 Fundamentally, insurers need to give their customers a positive customer service experience to retain business at the point of renewal. The key is to use digital platforms to consolidate and modernise the claims application process to achieve improved operational and financial management of the claims organisation and deliver an optimised customer experience of settlement times, post-claim service, and internal information sharing. Taking a customer-centric approach to claim management enables companies to deliver the best customer experience possible and drive greater customer loyalty. Employing next-generation technology solutions that embody this approach will lead to greater control and the ability to react quickly to market events or changes. This new-found agility and innovation will give insurance companies an edge over the competition.

 A good example of this is a claims app which lets the customer become the co-producer of a one-stop claim process. Users can enable GPS to register the exact location of the incident, take pictures of the scene, be guided through the key steps at a time of stress and be provided with the contact details of their broker so they can speak to them directly. The customer can complete and submit the claim on their smartphone, all via the app – ensuring a simple and efficient claims process. An easy to use claims process such as this significantly improves customer satisfaction and is a great example of digital media enabling insurance companies to provide immediate assistance to their customers in the ‘moment of truth’. Using digital platforms in this way makes the claims process easier and more efficient for both insurance company and claimant alike – expectation management is key in any service-oriented transaction.

 Digital media platforms are now part of mainstream business life, allowing users to create, distribute and receive specialised content and to interact with communities. In the highly competitive and fast paced world of consumer insurance, the company that actively identifies digital media opportunities in the insurance customer value chain and harnesses the potential of new platforms to provide an efficient and customer-centric claims management process has the most to gain in the ever critical moment of truth.

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