Improving customer service and easing call volume are two reasons Florida’s state run property insurer plans to upgrade its claims technology in 2018.
During Citizens Property Insurance Board of Governors Meeting held last week, members of its C-suite provided details on the planned upgrade to its claims systems.
Kelly Booten, chief systems and operations officer, cited three technology projects slated for 2018, including a customer portal implementation, as well as upgrades to its Guidewire software and storage platform.
The Guidewire upgrade, said Booten, will improve customer experience by offering insureds and claimants the ability to view and eventually report claims. An additional $700,000 was earmarked for the customer portal upgrade, which can be used beyond hurricane response, she said.
It will be the first upgrade since the Guidewire system was implemented five years ago. The total contracted amount for the system upgrade to version 9 is $2.3 million, she added.
Additional upgrades to improve existing hardware is expected to save $4 million over the next five years, Booten said.
Jay Adams, chief claims officer, discussed a cost related to an add-on to Xactimate, a property loss estimating software. He said the add-on will allow office claims adjusters to write estimates from their desks by Skyping with those in the field. Adams said Citizens can leverage the process on lower severity claims, as well as for catastrophe losses.
Irma made landfall in Florida on September 10, creating a challenging year for the firm.
There were lessons learned from the first major hurricane in 11 years, said Barry Gilway, president and CEO.
The magnitude of calls coming in after Irma were far more than the company could handle. From first notice of loss to requesting for status updates on pending claims, Gilway said an emergency order was issued to address the need for a self-service strategy.
“What we learned very quickly during Irma is that we did not have an online claims capability,” said Gilway.
That’s when the insurer determined it needed a system for insureds and claimants to report claims and get updates online.
“I think from a consumer standpoint, clearly it will be a huge benefit,” said Gilway.
The insurer reported a little over 63,000 claims related to Irma with an 80 percent closing rate. Gilway noted that the closing rate was better than the industry average.
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