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3 Reasons Why Insurers Need to Rethink Their Claims Communications

BY Ed Worsfold

Why should insurers care about communications in a claims cycle? Well, according to JD Power, communications has become the number one driver of customer satisfaction—or dissatisfaction. It’s the biggest influencer of loyalty, brand sentiment, and revenue, which means it’s critical that it’s done right.

But it’s becoming more difficult over time. Why? Because consumer expectations are being shaped, not by the insurance industry, but by high-tech disruptors (think Amazon, Uber, AirBnB, Google, and so on).

As a consequence, it’s important that insurance organizations start planning and prioritizing their investments in claims communications. Need proof? Here are three reasons:

1. Because consumers’ want more from their claims communications

Today’s consumers are looking for communications that are highly personalized, proactive, clear and easy to understand, sent to them through the channel of their choice. The good news is that when this is done right, even a slow claims cycle can be easily forgiven and satisfaction can still be high. However, the bad news is that when this isn’t done right, it generates low satisfaction, negative brand association, and high customer turnover.

2. To keep up with the competition

Today’s customers want to know their insurance company has a unified view of all their claims with them. But the lack of connection between data systems means that carriers can’t make the best use of the data they have to understand customers’ needs and preferences, and in turn, optimize interactions. Instead, they often end up flooding customers with too much of the wrong information.

Disjointed marketing efforts risk leaving your customers with the impression that your company is interested in selling them your services, but not interested in understanding their actual needs or acting as their trusted advisor—a reputation that, in this day and age, no company can afford.

In order to stay ahead of the game and not risk losing customers to the competition, insurers should adopt an approach that will enable those closest to the customer—such as an agent, broker or adjuster—to easily reference customer claims conversations. This means personalizing the correspondence they send within defined rules that ensure those communications remain compliant, while retaining a consistent look and feel with other customer communications sent by the organization.

3. Because digital transformation is becoming a necessity for insurers

The digital revolution is changing what superior customer service looks like. As policyholders bring their customer service expectations from other industries, the old claims process suddenly appears very outdated—customers expect to be able to send in a photo of the damage to their car after an accident, and that the adjuster will have examined that photo before arriving to inspect the car.

New technology quickly becomes the norm—and expected across industries—and insurers that stick to their old way of managing claims because they’re unable to support new and emerging technologies will start to lose their policyholders to insurers with the capacity to incorporate new technologies we see on the horizon.

How to build a case for better claims communications

Customer-facing communications have a huge influence on company performance—yet we know that Customer Communications Management (CCM) rarely receives the same strategic attention as other fundamental activities within an insurance organization, such as Finance, Human Resources and Research and Development, and is generally left to function in disconnected pockets of technology and processes.

To change this situation, you—as a CCM professional—are in the best position to lead the charge within your organization to explore another set of very important questions:

  1. Are we putting our content in the hands of the business users who know our customers best, and can we use it to create the right messages for our organization?
  2. Do we have the right tools to manage complex content, without having to resort to cut and paste or duplication to make mass changes easier, as well as to ensure brand and regulatory compliance?
  3. Are we able to tailor our content appropriately for different audiences, such as millennials versus seniors, or English versus Spanish speakers?

Tools and technology alone won’t help you achieve your CX goals if you can’t get the right content into the right tool and manage it in an effective way. In other words: your claims communications are the most powerful weapon your organization has to impact the customer experience, so it’s imperative that insurance companies get it right.

In our latest eBook, “3 Hurdles Affecting Your Claims Communications—and How to Overcome Them”, we’ll outline three of the biggest challenges insurers encounter when attempting to improve their claims communications, and recommend tips and best practices on how these obstacles can be conquered.

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