As part of the Connected Claims conference being hosted by Insurance Nexus, we have been conducting a series of brief interviews with speakers and/or presenters from this conference. In the third and final in the series, we asked Andreas Kleiner, CEO of American Modern Insurance Group, about his work and session at Connected Claims. (Insurance Nerds is a marketing partner for this conference. Use discount code NERDS200 to register here to get $200 off your registration)
1. Andreas, can you tell us about your role at American Modern?
I serve as president and CEO of American Modern, a primary property and casualty insurance carrier that provides specialty residential and recreational coverage through agents, MGAs and other distribution partners throughout the United States. Along with my executive leadership team, we lead more than 1,100 employees in helping everyday Americans lead one-of-a-kind lives.
2. What are some of the major challenges of your role that you are facing lately?
Our challenges are similar to those faced by other industries and companies: a rapid change in customer expectations; a strong desire for digitalization to create ease-of-use; and the significant development in data analytics / artificial intelligence to enhance data-driven decision-making and to better understand customers so we can apply that knowledge to providing the best experience. However in my view, I prefer to see these not as challenges but as opportunities for the business.
Another challenge is one the entire insurance industry faces: the implications of climate change on risks worldwide. For instance, it seems we may have a “new normal” regarding the increased risk of wildfire in California as well as in Europe and other severe weather exposures.
3. How do you keep up with all the technology and advances in your claims department?
American Modern has created a Digital and Data Roadmap that describes the strategic journey we strive to achieve not just in claims management, but in every area of our organization. This Roadmap serves to link all our digital and data initiatives across the company, and also ensures that each one ladders up to our overarching strategy.
We are constantly tracking market developments in claims technology. When we believe there is a platform that fits into our operating model as well as our Roadmap, first we pilot that platform. Then, if it proves successful, we move forward with strategic implementation for the benefit of the business as well as our customer base.
4. How do you integrate the rapid changes in claims with the rapid changes in underwriting to the benefit of your customers?
First of all, both claims and underwriting can benefit from using some of the same technologies. For instance, a digital solution that allows customers to connect via a mobile device with their adjuster, can also be used in the underwriting inspection process, both of which enhance the customer experience via ease-of-use and fast turnaround times. Data-sharing is also a viable component; whether it be internal or third-party vendor data, insights from claims can drive extremely valuable underwriting analysis. This, of course, assists in securing a company’s long-term competitive position as well the financial stability necessary to be there when the customer needs you most.
5. What are some of the challenges in integrating new technology such as IoT sensors to prevent or mitigate claims losses?
One practical challenge is that the customer must be connected to the internet – this may seem surprising, but a study just released by Pew Research Center states that 10 percent of Americans don’t use the internet. There are also other factors to consider, such as power outages and lack of wifi connectivity.
Customer acceptance is also a challenge. As an industry, marketing and selling the return on investment of an IoT device can be difficult – even when the device is provided free of charge. Other times, the customer doesn’t understand why they would need the device, especially in cases where they have never experienced a loss that could have been mitigated by the IoT sensor.
6. You are the keynote speaker at the Insurance Nexus Connected Claims USA Summit in Chicago on June 5th & 6th. What will be the general theme of your message to the audience that attends?
My overall topic is the strategic value of claims for an insurance organization. I intend to share my perspective on the changes in our industry overall, the key trends that are emerging in claims management, and the most important ingredients that drive customer satisfaction. After all, claims is the single most important factor that drives sustainable customer loyalty in the insurance space. I am honored to keynote this year’s Summit and am very much looking forward to it.
7. Can insurance professionals outside of “claims” benefit from understanding the current state of the technology for claims such as connected devices, sensors and IoT? ie Can underwriters, actuaries, senior execs do better in their jobs if they understand the current state of claim technology better?
Pricing and underwriting team members can absolutely benefit from understanding new claims technologies. These very same technologies can aid in parts of the insurance value chain by both speeding up and simplifying processes. One example is remote inspection or remote sensing technology which allows the organization to see the same risk, whether you are looking at it from a claims, underwriting or pricing perspective.
Collaboration between claims and underwriting leads to an overall healthier portfolio of risk. Technology can enable this type of collaboration. And of course, understanding the thought process that goes into assessing a claim and producing a claims estimate is critical to understanding how to underwrite and price the risk to begin with.
8. As an industry, how do we know (or will we know) we are doing the right things for our customers (either in claims or elsewhere) in our deployment of new, innovative solutions?
It’s imperative that we actively speak to our customers, find out what they want and then translate it into viable solutions. Let me share some specific examples of the ways in which American Modern is using customer insight to develop digital solutions and enhance customer experiences:
- Our innovation team, which first started out to create an app for the company, instead developed chatbot technology – largely due to the insight they received from our customers.
- Our claims department performs real-time customer surveys at key steps during the claim process, which allows us to proactively correct a potentially negative experience.
- Our dedicated Customer Experience department has overarching responsibility that spans all functions of the organization, ensuring the delivery of exceptional experiences at key customer touchpoints.
CONNECT WITH ANDREAS KLEINER: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreas-kleiner-9793897b/