By Jose Tribuzio, Senior Vice President & General Manager, SIMS Claims, Insurity
The digital age is upon us, and the signs are all around. Turn on the TV, and commercials eagerly promote smart, digital consumers who lock cars, turn down home thermostats and glance into refrigerators remotely from their smartphones.
These digitally savvy consumers are ubiquitously connected to the Internet, email and social media. They own several digital devices, including smartphones, tablets and wearables. Members of this “touch and click” generation embrace technology, as well as digital transactions—and these preferences also shape their expectations around business interactions.
As a result, digitization has grown in the banking and finance sector, where traditional “blue chip” providers of financial services are now facing increased pressure from nascent “FinTech” companies. Insurance is experiencing a similar trend coined “InsurTech.” Such digital companies are gaining traction by leveraging digital technologies to innovate and streamline traditional business processes.
Workers’ compensation (WC) organizations must take note of how these digital trends are impacting other industries—and prepare to bring a similar digital transformation to the claims process. Here are some considerations to ponder as we delve into 2017:
1. Gain Leadership in the New Digital Divide
The “digital divide” has historically referred to a disparity between those who “have” and those who “have not” in regards to access to digital technologies. But now a new divide has emerged. According to the authors of a Harvard Business Review article, “The Most Digital Companies Are Leaving the Rest Behind,”1 there’s a widening gap “between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have mores’—companies and sectors that are using digital capabilities far more than the rest to innovate and transform how they operate.”
WC claim organizations must begin to employ digital strategies to position themselves on the “leading” side of this new divide.
2. Accelerate Transactions
Claims transactions need to occur at a “digital” pace or risk being perceived as slow and antiquated. Digital business is all about speed, flexibility and convenience. For example, consumers no longer want to walk paper-based checks into banks to deposit them. They appreciate transactions that can be securely and conveniently performed from their smartphones. Many banks now offer the capability to take a picture of a check to deposit it, or this step is skipped entirely with funds electronically transferred.
By this same token, WC processes must advance to become real-time, electronic, mobile-enabled and driven by data and analytics.
3. Go Mobile
Today, 68% of U.S. adults have smartphones, up from 35% in 2011, and tablet ownership has edged up to 45% among adults, according to 2015 survey data from the Pew Research Center. With mobile and tablet use growing exponentially, neglecting mobile claims capabilities will be akin to turning one’s back on the future.
4. Leverage Cloud Computing
A recent Economist Intelligence Unit study found that many mature enterprises now turn to cloud computing (both for software and infrastructure) as a strategic means to achieve their business objectives. With good reason, cloud computing provides organizations with a flexible, scalable, low-cost alternative to traditional IT and software delivery models, and therefore, has emerged as a key digital strategy. WC claims organizations may want to consider subscribing to cloud-hosted claims software to gain access to the most digitally advanced and user-friendly claims capabilities.
5. Employ Digital Business Intelligence
Claims leaders have long realized they need to be able to gather and analyze data, as this capability can fuel insights and innovations that set their claims-handling strategy apart and give them a competitive advantage.
To have access to sophisticated analytics, however, organizations need powerful and sophisticated Business Intelligence (BI) tools capable of dealing with the exponential growth of data, as well as numerous data sources that are often external to the claims organization.
In claims, analytics now serves as a support tool that can help predict outcomes, apply prescriptive actions (such as referring certain cases for expert handling) where needed to halt escalating claims, and ultimately, enable more informed claim decision-making. In essence, BI is required to obtain optimal value from any digital investment.
6. Prepare for the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT)—the latest phase of the digital revolution—links various “things” to the Internet and to one another. Almost any physical object can be connected, including packages, vehicles, buildings, clothing and more.
Beyond providing consumer convenience, the IoT trend is slated to create a wealth of new data sources for the benefit of claims management, loss control and risk reduction. WC claims organizations must have a sophisticated claims platform to be able to collect, analyze and leverage these new IoT data sources.
7. Enhance Customer Experience
Fostering an excellent customer experience of the claims process is vital to retaining business. Insureds will not hesitate to switch carriers if they’ve suffered through a poorly managed claim or experienced service issues.
An investment in digitizing claims goes a long way toward enhancing the customer’s claims experience. For example, digital strategies can enable more efficient workflow and proactive communication—essential components to making a customer feel doted on. At the same time, digital technologies also enable organizations to reduce overall claims cycle times and costs.
To leverage these benefits, organizations must be prepared to let go of legacy claims systems that are resistant to the change and integration necessary to create a seamless digital experience—and adapt more modern claim solutions.
Bridging the Divide
In the unrelenting march toward digitization, WC organizations cannot remain complacent, or they risk falling behind. Instead, they must establish “digital” as a priority that can enable them to tackle the challenges ahead. With the strategies discussed in this article, organizations can start to bridge the divide, generating greater efficiency, increased savings and enhanced service to win in the new year.
About Jose Tribuzio
Jose Tribuzio is Senior Vice President and General Manager of SIMS Claims at Insurity. He has more than 20 years of experience in the software industry. In 2006, he founded Systema Software, LLC, which was recently acquired by Insurity. Since 2001, Jose has focused solely on developing insurance software solutions, which provide a unique combination of value, flexibility and functionality. Under his direction, the SIMS Claims team remains dedicated to developing, innovating, and supporting SIMS Claims as a fast, flexible and feature-rich solution that meets client and industry needs.
Insurity, Inc. enables property & casualty insurers to modernize their enterprise and achieve their business goals. Insurity’s core processing applications and data integration and analysis solutions are backed by rich insurance expertise and are in production with over 100 insurers, processing billions of dollars of premium each month. Insurity’s solutions address the needs of all carriers – from the Top 20 insurers to small or regional commercial, personal, or specialty lines writers, as well as MGAs. For more information about Insurity, call 860-616-7721 or visit www.insurity.com.
1James Manyika, Gary Pinkus, and Sree Ramaswamy, “The Most Digital Companies Are Leaving the Rest Behind,” Harvard Business Review, January 21, 2016.