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Technology Improves Claims Process for Business and Customers Alike

By Allan Robinson, SVP, Claims, Horace Mann

Allan Robinson, SVP, Claims, Horace Mann

Technology today is providing us with more options to collect and analyze claim data, making it easier to determine optimal methods for handling claims, leading to best claim outcome and better customer service. Many companies are using the latest technology programs forclaims management. By investing in our core technology, we aim to improve our overall claim results by improving loss cost management, customer service, and expense management.

"The key to getting the technology to work for you is to make sure you are inputting the right data from the beginning"

The key to getting the technology to work for you is to make sure you are inputting the right data from the beginning. At Horace Mann, we worked with our auto estimating platform vendor partner and leveraged its data and experience to triage claims early in the First Notice of Loss (FNOL) process. This enables us to segment claims for the most effective method of inspecting the damage. Using predictive analytics gives us the most efficient and accurate method to evaluate damage. This optimizes our loss, cost and expense—but most importantly, our customer experience.

Predictive analytics help us use different claim attributes to assign the right claim to the appropriately skilled claims adjuster. This scoring process means highly complex claims are routed to the most experienced adjuster for evaluation and handling, while smaller, simpler claims are identified and “fast tracked”. With this system, we also can have the customer report or check the status of a claim or take pictures of the damage and upload them to the Horace Mann app on their smartphone.

Technology has also allowed us to better manage the workload for our appraisers. Because of the data input at the beginning of the claim, we are able to see the drive time required to get to the claim site, what work can be done at “desk level” and more.

This system also helps reduce costs. If we know the claim involves minor damage and the customer can send pictures through our app to show what happened, that not only speeds up the process, but also saves money. An adjuster isn’t needed at the scene and the customer doesn’t need to visit a claims facility.

Not everything can be done through technology. There are times when a live person is needed at the scene. With the technology for claims today, when there is a need to dispatch an adjuster the process is more efficient, because of the information intake at the beginning. The adjuster is able to get a better handle on what the claim is before they head to the location, share information from the location sooner and move the claim along in a more expedient fashion.

By using predictive analytics, and working collaboratively with our vendors, we are able to make sure there is seamless integration from the start to finish of a claim. The aim is to improve cycle time for better customer service, and we are already seeing our customer satisfaction results improve.

Part of our effort to improve customer service includes an investment to offer more tools for customer self-service. We know customers of different generations prefer to handle their interaction with us in different ways. Some would prefer an in-person visit, some a phone call and some email. We want to be able to reach our customers through their preferred channel, whatever that is.

This becomes really important for our customer base— educators. We have the ability to be in contact with our educators throughout every step of the process in ways that minimally disrupt their lives. For example, calling educators during the day when they are in class is not the best option for communicating with them, so we leverage email and chat, and are exploring texting capabilities to communicate with our educator clients. Our aim is to let teachers know where the process is and receive feedback without being too disruptive to their daily routine.

The analytics we receive thanks to technology are amazing, including the average time it takes to complete a claim, the different types of claims we’ve had, what geographic area they come from, time of day, severity, what areas of a property have been most affected and more. The more we utilize analytics, the more we can find out about our customers and ourselves. We can find ways to improve our customer experience and improve how we do business. Technology has provided us with more options to collect, segment and analyze claim data, which helps lead to the best method to deal with the claim. That leads to the best claim outcome and ultimately, serving the customer better.

It is important to remember there is no one “silver bullet” from technology that will deliver results. The marriage of good technology tools and well-trained, caring claim professionals, who properly evaluate and pay claims in an efficient manner, is the key. It’s a combined effort: people, process, and technology.

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