Best Practices: Optimizing Your Insurance Workflow

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Seamless. Streamlined. Efficient.

We are talking about workflow—the managing of tasks in an insurance company from initial claim to resolution. Consisting of a sequence of connected steps, workflow is a depiction of a sequence of operations. It is the ‘flow’ of ‘work’ – generally from initial contact, through final billing.

But what do words like ‘streamlined’ and ‘seamless’ actually mean when applied to the tasks an insurer must accomplish daily, weekly, or seasonally?

Exactly how would your company benefit from having an optimized workflow?

In one word, it can save you TIME – which, in turn, translates to money.

Where there are ‘hands-on,’ time is lost. Time which could be billed.

Insurance companies have numerous processes that are traditionally operated manually. Even as we turn into the next decade, claims processing in the modern insurance space remains a manual, inefficient, error-prone operation. Claim information submitted through multiple channels such as email, phone, or other online forms is often entered by hand into the claims system – sometimes more than once. That’s where time gets wasted, and where errors can be made.

The first step to optimizing the insurance claims workflow is to eliminate as many manual processes as possible, without affecting customer service. In fact, automating mundane tasks frees up employees to focus on more productive, client-oriented activities.

As you can see from the diagram, the entire claims process has many touchpoints, from initial claims intake, notifications, claims handling and billing. As many (or more) than 16 manual processes stand between taking in the claim and when an agency processes payment. Agencies that are successfully implementing best practices actually rewrite their workflow processes integrating technology into a new workflow system. It means a “letting go” of old ways of doing a transaction – and embracing new approaches and technologies for a more efficient process – that saves you time and money

Your workflow is broken or disconnected. Time is spent connecting parts.

Another issue that can hamper efficient claims processing is having multiple workflows—multiple apps or software that are siloed, or isolated. According to  The Wall Street Journal, the average number of apps used by companies is 129. Perhaps you have an app that helps users view documents, but it is not connected to your main software, so it’s not in real time. Payment processing is another separate system. There are mobile apps for policy holders to submit information, and mobile apps for contractors – resulting in claims information that lives in many different locations and disconnected systems. And if your current claims, policy administration and billing systems have reached their practical limits, data is then siloed across disparate platforms and not easily available when you need it.

As a result, you struggle to capture a real-time, complete picture at any given moment of the claims process – your clients suffer from a lack of transparency – and your staff spends more time chasing information – and less time resolving claims.

Automating the claims process

The speed and convenience with which claims are settled have a huge bearing on an insured’s reputation. Automated workflows help insurers keep the ball rolling between the multiple steps in the insurance sales cycle, making claims processing seamless. A comprehensive claims management system connects all parts of your system and speeds up the process. 

Insurers can reduce the inefficiencies and inaccuracies of inputting data by hand, measurably decrease Loss Adjustment Expense, and keep customers satisfied by implementing a single platform claims management system.

Where integrating new technology makes sense

And how exactly can technology interact with the human side of the insurance experience of clients? It is definitely possible to automate to speed up the claims process and ensure compliance, but still provide superior customer service.

A few examples:

First, document management systems have the capability to completely automate. This includes preparation and tracking in a completely paperless environment.

Another example–insurance agents sometimes turn to process automation to automate specific tasks, such as automatically reaching out to prospective policyholders and collecting details of a claim.

Automation can be used for tasks that don’t need a live person, such as using video for property damage assessment; an app can help you figure out what needs to be fixed, and for how much.

A vision of the future of claims processing

Every insurer wants to be known as a company that puts client needs first and offers superior customer service. Your customers want to know that you are working hard to maximize coverage and eliminate risk. They want a well-trained, qualified staff available to be able to answer questions or concerns in a timely way.

A single unified platform. Dynamically build automation where you need it, without having to replace your entire claims system.

Ready to accelerate your enterprise’s claims process?

  • Create workflows that leverage existing systems and provide them with agility
  • Enable digital management of processes
  • Add visibility into transactions and processes
  • Reduce your dependance on paper and spreadsheets to eliminate cost, waste and errors
  • Increase productivity by automating manual tasks

Seamless. Streamlined. Efficient.

Towards 2036: The Insurance Industry Reassembles Itself

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“It’s highly likely that the insurance industry will change more in the next 15 years than it has in the previous 100.”

Change is the theme for 2021. A bright future for the convergence of insurance and technology is the theme of this article, published in the February issue of Insurance Journal.

In the article, Andrew G. Simpson delves into the vision of Mark Anquillare, executive vice present and chief operating officer of Verisk Analytics where Angquillare says: “When we look toward 15 years from today to 2036, the landscape of insurance will look utterly different than it does today.”

What will differentiate insurance today with insurance in 2036? It’s a two part answer.

“In this future, nearly everything will be connected, contain smart technology, be mobile, produce data, and analyze in real time.” At the speed that technology is morphing customer experience with insurance claims, Anquillare sees changes in the models that steer the insurance industry. He sees a race between the traditional model of an insurer—familiar names and giants that are decades, sometimes hundreds of years old—and the technology companies of today and the future, who are championing the model of a fully connected and integrated insurance ecosystem.

The insurance industry has the challenge of complexity and a regulatory jungle that takes nuances to navigate through. The established giants downplay disruption in their models, believing instead that any new technology will be integrated into already existing structures. Tech companies are unfamiliar with the vast network of regulations insurance companies need to contend with. Insurance establishment maintains that what has worked for a hundred years will still work in 2036, as companies continue to pivot and adapt. In what Anquillare calls a race to build a better insurance ecosystem, it will be up to the consumer to determine the winner.

Key drivers of change in the next 15 years

As we have seen in 2020, disruption can come suddenly, and changes can take place rapidly. Anquillare believes the industry will change in the next decade and a half. A lot.

He cites three disruptors: global climate, people, and artificial intelligence (AI) technology. While we have known for decades that global climate change was in the works, today it is a major player. Records are being smashed, and profound changes are taking place that can no longer be ignored. In the next 15 years, weather events will be front and center to insurance industry considerations.

Second, the consumer profile is changing. Whereas boomers may find comfort in the old faithful insurance companies, Anquillare cites research that shows upcoming generations who have grown up with technology, are more likely to trust technology. And Big Tech excels in simplifying complex transactions and prioritizing customer experience. It will be a race to win consumer confidence.

Technology like artificial intelligence “has the potential to accelerate at amazing speed in the very near future,” Anquillare states. As innovation continues to increase in insuretech, disruption to traditional models may be inevitable. After all, he notes, other industries have already been disrupted, “think about music, network TV, travel, telecommunications, taxi service, newspapers…”

Some insurers still struggle with integrating technology. Anguillare cited a recent Verisk-backed study in which a number of insurer chief information officers said they were still using Excel spreadsheets to make underwriting decisions. Insurance providers who rely on those more traditional, manual systems usually struggle to achieve the same results as those who have automated and optimized their workflow. They don’t have the same control over what’s happening on a day-to-day and on a long-term basis, and they have to work harder to create the same level of relationships with customers.

How can today’s players in the insurance industry respond to the challenge from big tech?

Anguillare’s answer to big tech’s challenge is to throw down the gauntlet. Embracing technology’s advances and integrating it into the insurance landscape are a natural evolution. CEOs are taking leadership stances when it comes to technology, and Anguillare sees that as hopeful: “Few industries are better positioned for outstanding growth over the next 15 years.” Taking a long range look at 2036 can be insightful for insurance companies preparing for the future. “I think the models point to possibilities that can be highly helpful for us to consider, that can help us prepare for the future and to also do our part in shaping it because the insurance industry itself has a very bright future,” Anguillare said.

Some takeaways for insureds:

  • Utilize automation to reduce costs
  • Find the most innovative technology that exists now
  • Make your digital experience friendly to customers
  • Make sure your data is secure from threats

Examine the tools that technology can offer you NOW that will keep you ahead of your competition as we all speed our way towards 2036

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5 tips to simplify your claims assigning process

By Blog, Claims Management, Insurance Trends, Uncategorized, Workflow No Comments

Insurance claims adjusting is increasingly moving to innovative software that can help them process and assign claims more quickly, especially in this exceptionally busy season, and amidst the pandemic.

It’s the year of COVID and natural disasters

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a problem we are all grappling with, however it has expedited innovative and technological solutions to error-prone manual processes that over 50% of insurance providers are still entrenched in. COVID has forced many claims processors to look at how automation can make their claims assignment process more agile, productive and efficient. 

Secondly, this year offered one of the most volatile weather and natural event seasons in history. With the increased volume of claims in a record 2020 storm year, you need a claims management system that can handle them, while also adjusting to seasonal challenges – without increasing wait times or affecting quality. Systems with automated claims assignment features can provide the keys to achieving customer satisfaction and lower claims costs. 

How to move more quickly through claims assignment

Are you still stuck in the decades-long mentality of complex, time-consuming, manual claims processing and assignment processes? These outdated, error-prone and time-eating tasks lead to bottlenecks, inefficiencies and disappointed clients at a time when customers are demanding convenience, visibility and communication. Streamlined claims assignment through software automation is increasingly the answer.

Look for a software provider with tools that are: 1) easy and intuitive to use; 2) move the user quickly from initial input to completion; and 3) provide a reservoir of information they can tap into with a click. 

VCA’s simplified screens allow the user to navigate through the assigning process in just a few clicks. Users have access to information pertinent to the claim: which adjusters and teams are closest to the loss, star ratings and open claims, utilizations, and more. Want to assign a loss to an adjuster who currently has a lower claim count? Want to be sure you are assigning a loss to the correct team? VCA shows you who is out there, where they are on the map, how busy they are and who would be the most efficient choice. 

Visual makes it fast – map-based claims tools for claims assignment

Let’s face it. Most of us are more visual than mathematical. A map, and icons on a map, are immediately understood. With VCA’s map-based tool, a user clicks on the map, sees where the loss is located, and sees where adjusters and teams are in relation to that loss. 

A mapping feature saves time: A user can click on the loss icon and obtain all the info on that loss. It also plots where adjusters are, and lists their information, on the map. To process, just click on the name of the adjuster you want to manage the loss and click ‘assign.’ Done. Our innovative software uses easy-to-recognize symbols (like a map) to compel immediate understanding – making claims assignment intuitive and fast!

Know whether adjusters can handle more claims, or are too busy for you

Does your software allow you to see real-time stats on individual adjusters or teams that you are sending your claims to? Are you still using email, or the phone, to get them? If you send out your claims, do you know whether that adjuster can handle his/her own claim count – plus yours?  

VCA speeds up claims assignment time by giving you info on each adjuster’s or team’s status including: how many claims are assigned to him/her, open claims, and total claims. You can even limit the amount of claims you send. When assigning to teams, you can see all the members within the teams, at a glance. Armed with that knowledge, you can confidently assign claims.

Automated features take out the extra (costly) touches

Want to go one step further? Automate the entire assignment process. VCA’s Automatic Claims Distribution removes the last bits of manual process in claims assignment. Our system will automatically assign claims to the closest adjuster who not only has the capacity to handle the volume, but also has a high ranking in productivity and output.

New losses can be set up with criteria to properly assign a claim including: star rating, utilization, or distance from the loss. It’s simple: Access the system administration and set up the criteria most important to you in assigning a claim. In this way, you can triage thousands of claims in minutes. Once claims have been assigned, your email that lets clients know who their claims adjuster is, gets sent automatically.

Using automation, you are freed from performing manual and repetitive tasks. You have more time for decision-making. And, you can go the extra mile to create memorable customer experiences.

See VCA’s Visual Mapping Assignment Tool in action 

To help, we have been offering free, customer-exclusive webinars throughout the pandemic crisis – so you can discover new ways to streamline your claims management process.

In this 20 minute webinar on-demand, take a deep dive into VCA’s Visual Mapping Assignment Tool. 

Join Matt Barrett, Senior Claims Specialist and learn about:

☑ Traditional claims assignment

☑ Visual direct assignment

☑ Visual team queue assignment

☑ Automated claims distribution

Watch: Claims Assignment Tools for CAT Season Relief