Excellence in the claims function can help an insurer create competitive differentiation through increased loyalty and superior performance. But while insurers have focused on improving their claims initiatives, the insurance landscape has shifted. Changes in consumer expectations, the emergence of new risks and the increasing speed of technological developments have made yesterday’s efforts…well, yesterday’s news.

The claims function is at a crossroads, and moving forward requires insurers to take a fresh look at their organization.

Consumer expectations

Across age and gender demographics, insurance customers are more demanding, more critical, less trusting and less loyal. And, what’s troubling is that 55 percent of North American adults believe that insurance customers who receive poor service are more likely to submit fraudulent claims. The upside is that it’s not a price game. Customers are increasingly willing to pay more for the right products and services, in both personal and commercial lines.

The data deluge

Data offers insurers a rich opportunity to become smarter, quicker and more precise. But this means developing the capabilities to use all kinds of data—transactional data from legacy systems, structured data from commercial databases and unstructured data culled from social media.

Outcomes still matter

Accenture’s ongoing study of insurance claims performance found some success stories, but there’s still significant room for improvement. Claims professionals still spend nearly half their day on activities that don’t impact claims outcomes. Insurers can also improve their capabilities in the areas of loss cost management and expense efficiency.

Next week, I’ll discuss three more factors that insurers need to consider as they reexamine their claims function.

To learn more, download Claims at a Crossroads: Accenture Claims Transformation Services (pdf; opens in a new window).

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