Claims teams need to evolve to survive tech impact, says PwC

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Insurance claims teams must adapt if they are to do more than just survive the inevitable impact of technology, according to a new report from PwC.

The report, launched to coincide with the Lloyd’s Market Association’s Future of Claims Forum on 4 July, focuses on how the pace and adoption of new ways of working will affect the insurance workforce of the future, and the types of skills that will make up the teams dealing with customers making claims.

PwC predicts large swathes of future claims will be settled with little or no human involvement, and will instead be driven by automated intelligent technology. The report calls on insurers to focus on the opportunities that this transformational change represents, including better claims handling, removal of low value tasks, and enhanced analytics to continuously improve products and services.

According to PwC, success in this transformation will largely be driven by a need to re-train the people whose current roles are most likely to be affected by technology and sourcing new talent from different areas.

As technology is used to redefine the claims process, PwC expects insurers to increasingly focus on helping their clients prevent losses from happening in the first place. For example, sensors and tracking data will be used on containers and ships to automatically trigger and validate claims payments for lost and/or damaged cargo.

As a result of these developments, PwC expects overall claim numbers to fall, meaning insurers could focus their energy on improving the experience of the customer and developing new services and products. This means companies will increasingly be looking to employ people with customer-centric soft skills, as well as those with expertise in analysing data, who can create tailored, personal offerings for customers.

Jim Bichard, UK insurance leader at PwC, commented: “The insurance industry is alive to the fact that technology will disrupt everything they do and, in some cases, this change is already well underway. The impact will be felt differently by each firm—personal lines will react differently to commercial insurers, reinsurers and brokers—but all sectors need to take action now.”

“Individual companies can’t guard against job losses resulting from automation, but this isn’t just about jobs—it’s about people. Insurers can ensure they remain competitive by investing in re-training and supporting their existing employees to ensure they’re fit for the future workplace.

The report goes into detail on what new business models will mean for the people working in each of the non-life insurance sectors, from the administrators and technicians to the executives right at the top.

PwC states that future claims professionals across all levels of an organisation will have a much broader range of skills, including experience outside the insurance industry—possibly a background in customer relations, or training in data analytics.

Michael Cook, claims advisory leader at PwC, said: “It’s inevitable that adoption of technology will have an impact on claims teams—both on their size and their role in the wider insurance business. This does not mean that the days of human involvement in claims are over—there will always be a role for human expertise and judgement.”

“The future role of a claims professional will largely be driven by the type of claim—simpler settlements will be dealt with through technology, freeing up time for experts to work on more complex claims. New roles will also be created including a customer concierge, new product development such as parametric driven insurance for climate change, and the provision of loss prevention services.”

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk