Efficient & customer-centric: claims processing 2.0 in motor vehicle businesses

The claim and the associated processing are key moments in the insurance business.

Author: Alexander van der Bourg

The interplay between customer relationship and customer experience is crucial at this moment. The customer wants to be able to interact digitally with the insurer at any time during the processing of the claim. 
Using a use case for fully digitized claims processing, we would like to show what needs to be taken into account in order to achieve full customer satisfaction.

The Use Case: Claims Processing 2.0

We accompany Mr. Meier in his customer journey on a business trip in his company car, where he suffers a rear-end collision. The result is a minor fender bender with no injuries. 

In the classic case, Mr. Meier contacts his insurance company by phone and is handed a set of forms a few days later. These forms must then be filled out and returned to the insurance company. This means additional work for Mr. Meier, as he has to fill out the documents, print them out, sign them and return them.

In a modern claims processing system, the case is recorded directly via the customer portal. The most important customer data and the vehicle model are already stored in the database and can be retrieved. Mr. Meier thus has direct access to his policy and only has to enter the missing data of the claim. He himself determines when and where his request is processed. He is kept informed of the current status at all times. As an additional service, the customer portal can reserve a suitable replacement car or cab for Mr. Meier in real time, summon a towing service and arrange appointments for repairs at a partner garage. Mr. Meier has full control at all times over when and where he wants to obtain which additional services. 

The example just described of online claims processing with additional services compared to the classic method has many important advantages. On the one hand, the customer experience is massively improved, and on the other, internal processes, as well as the insurance product, can be harmonized and made more efficient.

From a customer experience perspective, the new approach has the following advantages:

  • The front end / portal is available to the customer at all times. The customer decides for himself when and where he wants to process his request.
  • The customer can use the services that are important to him. These include, for example, ordering a replacement car or booking a repair. His needs are taken seriously.


This has the following positive effects on the efficiency of internal insurance processes:

  • Claims processing is fully automated. Costs are saved and processes are standardized. In addition, follow-up processes can be initiated in dark processing, including policy adjustments. 
  • The pre-entry of the most important data by the customer means that less manual effort is required on the part of the insurance company. Due to the digital channels, the printing and scanning center is relieved.

For the insurance product, an online platform has the following advantages:

  • New features/offers can be introduced or replaced depending on the market environment.
  • By harmonizing the processing via a portal, both the customer and the customer advisor can benefit from a uniform view of the information and obtain omnichannel views of the customer relationship.

 

Challenges

The transformation from a claims process managed via letter correspondence to a digital claims process involves many challenges. They are multi-layered and differ from insurance company to insurance company. However, the transformation fundamentally raises the following questions:

  1. What steps must be gone through to provide internal processes to the customer?
  2. How can you quickly arrive at a customer-centric solution that abstracts internal processes?
  3. How do the surrounding systems communicate quickly and securely with a Web application?
  4. How should intuitive processes be designed for the customer?
  5. How are "edge cases" handled in the process?

Solution approaches

The goal is to understand, harmonize and efficiently digitize internal processes so that they can be made available to customers and customer advisors quickly and easily. In doing so, old multi-tracks in claims processing should be solved and simplified through omnichannel approaches. As a next step, the integration of additional services can be implemented to complete the desired product portfolio.

 

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Figure 1: From concept to MVP using the modular principle

1.    Definition of the application architecture and process design

At the beginning of the project, the architecture must be clearly defined with all the necessary interfaces (front-end and back-end, connection to surrounding systems). It is important to identify what is needed so that the target solution can be integrated into the system architecture. For our use case, the following questions should be answered early on: 

  • What is the desired user guidance through the process?
  • What information does the insurance company need to process the claim?
  • How modular should the tool be built?

Subsequently, work on the process design can begin. It is advisable to keep the internal and external processes as short and simple as possible in order to provide the customer with a good look-and-feel experience. To achieve this, customer input should be kept to a minimum and the number of clicks in the happy flow should be minimized. A minimized process may include the following steps: first check customer data, then check vehicle details, finally enter counterparty. The goal is to quickly create a prototype that can be used to iteratively move towards the target solution.

2.    Linking additional services in a modular way

Once the main process for claims handling has been implemented, additional services can be integrated. In our use case, these can be services such as selecting a replacement vehicle or making an appointment for repair with a partner garage. The possibilities here are many and varied and are to be fully adapted to the customer's needs. 
The process and system architecture is designed in such a way that additional modules can easily extend the main claims handling service on a modular basis. For example, additional services such as "Select replacement car" and "Repair by partner garage" are individual modules that can be ordered by the customer as additional services and activated in the customer portal.
The modular principle also makes it possible to split up development and achieve a fast go-to-market for the main module. In this way, decisions are to be made early on as to how potential additional modules can be integrated into the process. The insurer can subsequently respond quickly to the needs of its customers and expand or adapt its service portfolio.

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Figure 2: Main service claims processing with possible additional modules

Business Value

The digitization of claims processing and the associated connection of additional services generates business value at the following levels.

Customer Value

Customer interaction during claims processing is a key moment for the customer experience and the customer relationship. Simple user guidance and customer-centric added value of the solution massively increase customer satisfaction.

Cost/Efficiency Case

By reducing complexity and adopting an omnichannel approach, costs are saved enormously and efficiency is increased. For example, more cases can be processed with fewer consultants. In addition, throughput times are shortened by automation.

Strategy Case

The motor vehicle market is highly competitive. It is therefore important for a company to be able to react quickly to market conditions. The modular approach proposed here can ensure competitiveness.

Lessons learned

The customer interaction during the settlement of a claim is a key moment that decisively shapes the perception of the insurer and the customer experience. Therefore, it is essential that these interactions take place quickly, easily and with the highest level of customer satisfaction with the insurer. The digitization and exposure of internal processes, as well as the offering of additional services, can have a significant influence on customer interaction. In the use case described here, internal processes are specifically digitized and exposed for the customer. The customer can process his claim quickly and easily. At the same time, the customer advisor can look after the customer more easily thanks to a uniform, all-round view of the claim - in keeping with the omnichannel experience. Offering additional services rounds out the customer experience and leaves a lasting impression.

Summary

  • Customer experience, customer-first and increased efficiency are serious drivers of digitization in order to be competitive.
  • Omnichannel solutions help to increase efficiency and customer intimacy
  • Providing additional services helps insurers to move from being payers to partners.

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