Digital Trends Impacting Insurance Claims Departments in 2017

By Denise Johnson | January 9, 2017

Customer engagement, improved usability in all claims systems and expanded use of data analytics are just a few of the trends predicted for 2017 as insurers pick up the pace on digitization, according to Ed Charlton, global director for Strategies for CSC.

Digital insurance will be adopted more rapidly in every aspect, Charlton said. CSC, a provider of technology products and services for all lines of insurance, works with carriers of all sizes; however, the adoption rate for these changes are occurring more rapidly with larger insurers.

“Digital in the claims world is going to move towards access from any device…in a particular and easy to use way,” Charlton explained. “No matter who you are in terms of where you need to interact with the claims division, whether it be an insured, whether it be a claimant, whether it be an agent seeking claim information on the policies they booked with you, there would be a uniform digital access to the system.”

A system of engagement for all parties accessing claims systems will be key in 2017.

“If you think about a claims admin system, we would characterize that as the system of records, the back end admin system for a company to run claims,” explained Charlton. “With the move really around the globe to digital insurance in claims…I think insurance companies are going to be trying to enhance their systems of engagement, how do they engage at the front end with each of the parties with whom they need to deal with along the spectrum of claims handling.”

There will be an emphasis on improved user interface and real-time configuration to ensure adjusters and vendors can easily access and use back end claims administration systems, he said.

“For example, let’s say, they [insurance company] use a third party for medical bill review. They want ease of access and real time integration to that third party medical bill review company so that the claim adjuster goes right to a screen within the claims admin system, obtains the information and then is online, so to speak, with the medical bill review component of the overall software experience,” Charlton said.

Another key trend for 2017 is improved configuration within systems so that carriers can make changes to business rules without hard coding, Charlton explained. It’s a way to eliminate carriers from going back to a vendor, like CSC, repeatedly to make changes to a system.

Charlton expects carriers will no longer require customers to download an app for access to claims services. Instead, a claimant or insured will be able to access the system through a URL to submit information relating to a claim, including photos and videos. CSC has begun working with a company to offer this type of access.

“It’s evidence of an omnichannel front end system of engagement to the back end claims system. It provides easy access to the system from any device, but then it’s also moving ahead of the trend with allowing claimants or insureds to do so without having to download an app,” said Charlton, who noted that the acceptance of direct access into claims system by insureds has been relatively low if they have to download an app.

“With this system…we have 80 percent acceptance of utilizing the self service software, which is extremely high,” Charlton said, adding that customer satisfaction associated with this type of system access is also high.

With all the improvements to systems and additional access, cyber security is a concern for insurers.

“You’re going to see rapid adoption of additional cyber security measures for any of this. We’re talking about access to an insurance carrier system,” Charlton said. “The ability to ensure that that is secure is of utmost importance, and we’re going to see a lot of adoption of additional cyber security measures.”

According to Ernst & Young’s 2017 US property-casualty insurance outlook report, as insurers continue to ramp up cyber security coverage offerings, they will be under pressure to ensure they have “robust security systems to protect against cyber attacks within their own enterprises.”

Charlton expects that insurers will also be more amenable to putting their data in the cloud with the adoption of cyber security enhancements.

“The insurance industry, in general, was a little behind the curve in adopting cloud, and a lot of the reason was about concerns about security for the data. We are seeing now more customers moving to the cloud with respect to the cell phone services we deliver,” he said.

In 2017, Charlton expects that insurers will continue to ensure the data they are acquiring is being utilized.

“The use of data analytics is growing. It attempts to consolidate data across multiple platforms. You mentioned the medical bill review, you have your data in your back end system, then you have data in the medical review system. If those systems are integrated and you can pull the data, then obviously, the data becomes more powerful,” Charlton said. “We’re actually working on a special project right now for a large carrier…we’re pulling their back end claims system with their litigation data so the litigation data is in one system, and then their back end claims transaction data is in another system.

Ernst & Young’s report predicts that insurers will increase their use of advanced analytics across multiple platforms, including claims, underwriting and customer relationship management systems.

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