By Mason Bartleson, VP, process design and operational excellence, and Scott Richardson, EVP, property loss adjusting
Insurance carriers are continually looking for ways to process claims faster without sacrificing quality and to improve the claims experience for their valued policyholders. Many have turned to the burgeoning field of insurtech but have encountered challenges that include insufficient resources for successful development, inconsistent integration with other systems and services, and loss of the human touch amid an overemphasis on efficiency.
In response to client feedback to this effect, Sedgwick recently introduced an innovative solution that we hope addresses these concerns and more: a digital tool for the end-to-end, automated processing of low-severity residential property claims, such as small-scale leaks and fence damage. What truly distinguishes this approach is its full and seamless integration with other offerings in the property space, including desk and field adjusting, repair solutions, temporary housing and more. Its intuitive self-service options and auto-adjudication capabilities make the claims process quick and easy, and the tie-in to services offered by our expert teams means policyholders enjoy a one-stop, full-service experience that meets all their needs.
Whether you’re developing or evaluating a new claims solution, it’s critical that any offering have as its foundation the kind of values that align with your top priorities. Here, we will highlight the three fundamental pillars of property claims services designed to bring peace of mind to insurance carriers and their valued customers.
In the claims business, much has remained unchanged for years. Innovations in technology present opportunities to improve operating efficiency and effectiveness and enhance the user experience for policyholders and insurance carrier representatives.
Tech-driven tools should be employed in the claims-handling process intentionally and strategically, rather than simply as the new default. For example, our automated residential property claims solution leverages the configurability, intelligent decision engine and application program interface (API) capabilities of the smart.ly platform to bring together data from multiple systems and reduce the timeline for simple loss adjustments from nearly two weeks to just 1-2 days. However, when losses are more complex or homeowners can’t independently provide sufficient detail about the nature of the damages and extent of the repairs needed, then greater involvement from a team of experts is warranted.
Another example is our T&M Pro suite of time and material software. With its integration of three programs for the benefit of both restoration contractors and insurance carriers, it’s become the premier billing and data management system for the property loss industry. Having these systems connected as one supports fair and accurate estimating and billing, timely payments, and keeping projects on track. The software suite’s efficiencies and transparency can help to foster better relationships, but ultimately it’s no replacement for them.
Technology is not a panacea; it’s merely an avenue for streamlining and automating some aspects of the claims process. This enables skilled professionals to add greater value, because they’re able to focus on higher-level tasks.
The claims process is what connects all the dots to make people and their property whole again after a loss. Technology, of course, helps to fill in the lines, but it does not draw the full picture.
Strong process design is key to the effectiveness of any product serving the claims industry. In the case of our residential property claims solution, homeowners can access the system and initiate the auto-adjudication process in two ways: through a direct referral from their insurance carrier or, in a fully integrated program, as part of the first notice of loss (FNOL). The policyholder’s user experience is generally better and faster when the solution can be seamlessly incorporated into the FNOL and claim filing process.
Another important aspect of claims process design is flexibility. A solution that allows for configurability will better serve clients’ particular and ever-changing needs. For instance, can it use carrier-specific parameters for scripting and notification preferences regarding claim progress and milestones? Does it connect with client databases to perform policy verifications? What about monitoring for possible fraud or duplicate claims? Carriers today are abandoning one-size-fits-all approaches in favor of solutions that afford them greater flexibility and control of the process at every step.
A few carriers and service providers have automated aspects of the claims process, but our latest solution is unique in offering a configurable and automated end-to-end process for minor residential property losses, with opportunities for on-demand human involvement layered throughout. Melding the latest technology with industry-leading expertise results in a seamless and positive user experience for all.
Although we’re in the business of managing property claims, taking care of people is at the heart of everything we do. The goal in developing tech-driven solutions and efficient processes is not merely to get buildings repaired as quickly as possible; it’s ultimately to bring peace of mind and restore normalcy to the people whose lives have been impacted by a loss.
Homeowners who incur property damage are not a homogenous group. Some prefer direct interaction with an adjuster who can walk them through the process, while others are looking for a quick self-service option available 24/7. Some may start the self-service process and realize midway through that it’s more complicated than they expected. Effective claims solutions should provide policyholders with choices that meet their personal preferences and offer the right level of human touch — whether that is technical expertise or empathetic support — at every turn.
Technology development and process design must focus on the desired experience of the people who will be using them. Even without direct human involvement, a well-thought-out and user-friendly claim experience conveys the insurer’s commitment to caring for their policyholders.
By placing the three pillars of technology, process and people at the center of our latest solution, we’ve aimed to demonstrate Sedgwick’s caring counts philosophy and to enable carrier clients to take outstanding care of their valued policyholders during a challenging time in their lives.