Taking Ownership Over the Claims Process

Imagine you are participating in an Olympic archery tournament.

You have prepared and know how to use the sights, how to draw the bow, and how to time the release with your breathing.

You take aim at the target, everything is ready, and you release the arrow. But as soon as you take the shot, the lights go out completely. After a few minutes of darkness, it’s your turn to make another attempt. The problem is you don’t know what happened to the first arrow. Did it hit the target? Was it near the center? Did it miss entirely?

Without the ability to see the result of the first shot, there is no way to assess the previous result and make needed corrections for the next attempt. The feedback loop is missing.

It’s like preparing a full course meal for a group of friends using a new recipe, and then having to leave before anyone gets to eat.

As outlandish as these examples sound, it is something that occurs regularly with businesses, particularly insurance. There are specialized roles that only handle the first notice of loss, those that only handle minor property damage claims, those that only handle injury claims or litigation claims, and those that only handle subrogation.

In this environment, one claim segment doesn’t fully comprehend how they interact with another segment. They miss out on understanding the entire claims process. This causes confusion and lack of confidence when talking with customers.

On the other hand, after a claim professional understands what is needed for effective subrogation, they know what information is required to establish liability, and they know what questions to ask the customer to set up a claim correctly during the first notice of loss.

One way to accomplish this understanding is through file ownership where one individual can follow the progress of the claim from start to finish. Understandably this requires more employees, but it can enhance the customer service and resolution of claims.

Another method is through intentional cross training, which can give claim handlers more confidence in their ability through increased knowledge. The downside is that it removes employees from production for a period of time for them to learn other positions.

The simplest and most efficient option is to provide immediate feedback. The reason it needs to be immediate is to allow for corrections while the situation can still be recalled as opposed to a week or a month later. Accenture worked with Airbus to speed up the feedback loop on the final assembly line of the A330 airliner using a smartphone video app. They noted, “this helps Airbus improve operations through faster decision-making and less non-productive time, ultimately lowering assembly costs.” In addition to those same benefits for the insurance industry, there is improved customer satisfaction and net promoter score.

This feedback should be both positive and constructive to help people improve. Elon Musk said, “I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”

Because customer service is a key differentiator among insurance companies, it is critically important to excel in this area.

“According to the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study,SM a combination of record-low volumes of new insurance shoppers, consistent price competition among insurers and emerging “insurtech” disruptors on the horizon have forced auto insurers into aggressive customer courtship mode.”

When a claim is made, customer service is magnified – good or bad.

In the assembly line of claims, it can be difficult to see how a single part made by one individual fits into the completed vehicle. Intentional feedback will deliver the most immediate results that are expected by customers in this saturated market.

About Tyler Jensen

Auto Claim Team Manager at State Farm Insurance, MBA Candidate at Ole Miss

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.