As adjusters seek ways to increase profits, reduce loss and retain customer loyalty, many are turning to advancements in claims software and online centers for solutions.
Hugh Strawn, assistant vice president of the Property Loss Research Bureau expects this to grow as a trend throughout the year. “More adjusters are telecommuting thanks to advancements in online claims centers. From an adjuster’s perspective, the ability to go online and do their work during what may be considered ‘non business hours’ makes for a very convenient and efficient work environment,” he said.
“Most of the adjusters I have talked to recently have been very happy with the telecommuting technology offered today and the flexibility it gives them in doing their jobs,” Strawn said. He reported that the PLRB has people working with their online center at all hours, “Our data shows that we have people in the system late at night and early in the morning — times that you would normally think there wouldn’t be too much activity.”
Some other Web-based claim solutions offer increased automation and often require very little internal I/T support, said Vincent Cialdella, senior vice president, ISO.
“Technologies are available that can help analyze internal data and reveal how this information relates to external data sources. We see data mart repositories with fraud-analysis tools that can find matches and uncover hidden associations that may indicate fraud. These tools are important in helping claim personnel quickly differentiate between valid losses that require quick payment and suspect scenarios that need further investigation — improving the efficiency of the claims operation,” Cialdella said.
Claim analysis systems also help adjusters determine which claims to pay immediately and which to refer for special investigations. “These tools can help identify claims that need special handling or an expert adjuster — to assist in claim assignment at first notice of loss,” explained Cialdella.
By helping adjusters detect insurance fraud with data mining, pattern-recognition technology and scoring, Cialdella said real-time analysis tools and data sources can cut cycle time to reduce both expense and severity.
The ISO vice president said insurance companies will be compelled to take advantage of automated tools that can allow adjusters to shed routine activities going forward into 2008.
“These include decision-support software that instantaneously applies business rules and reduces cycle time. Automated analysis and the streamlining of any handoff points in the claim process are other examples of how technology will support over-extended staff,” he said.
For less experienced adjusters, Cialdella said, “They can access the expertise of more experienced claims personnel through claims management and expert technologies that have built-in knowledge of seasoned adjusters.”
Cialdella said the industry is ‘top heavy’ in terms of age. Going forward into 2008, he advised adjusters to, “Look for opportunities to be created as seasoned adjusters retire. Insurers will be challenged to do more with less staff or less-experienced staff.”
He stressed the importance for claims personnel to use smart tools so they can concentrate on customer touch points while finessing job functions that can be automated. “More than ever before, companies that embrace change and seek innovation in process improvement will be rewarded. An added benefit of the employment of leading edge tools is that the latest in technology is attractive to potential job candidates,” Cialdella added.
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