“While swift and efficient claim management has a tremendous impact on insurers’ own profitability, it is also one of the keys to heightening the overall customer experience and customer loyalty.”

That’s a quote from my colleague Nicole Michaels, a senior executive in charge of Accenture’s insurance technology initiatives in North America. She co-authored an article in Claims Magazine called “See the ‘Big Picture’ with Global Claim Management.”

Having effective solutions for handling complex or specialized claims, while delivering a pleasant customer experience, can be a competitive differentiator. That sounds simple enough, but it’s even more relevant when you consider expansion into global markets.

The problem of legacy systems

“The single greatest impediment to improved claim handling continues to be existing computer systems or legacy systems.”

While legacy systems transformation is a hot topic in the industry, its importance for claims handling is intensified, as claims handling was one of the first insurance functions to be computerized. Over time, add-ons may have been implemented to address certain claim problems. Ultimately, this maze of systems makes it difficult to improve efficiency.

It’s easy to point the finger at legacy systems, but other obstacles have to do with insurers’ own borders. Claim management functions are often organized by product line or geography, and the resulting silos are not conducive to a global management system.

Benefits of a global approach to claims management

“Replacing aging, incompatible claim administration systems…allows insurers to adapt rapidly to market cycle changes or new business needs.”

Despite the challenges that I’ve discussed, there are some very compelling reasons for transforming claims systems. With an increasing focus on managing expenses wisely and improving operational efficiency, insurers who transform their legacy systems can also reap the competitive advantage that is gained from more effective claim service.

Further, a global claim management platform enables better risk management. Improved tracking abilities and data management also makes it easier to comply with new, more stringent regulations.

Use global claims management to gain a competitive advantage

Ultimately, the benefits of implementing a global claims management system outweigh the pains of legacy system transformation. And in an increasingly competitive marketplace, insurers need to stay nimble and flexible, so that they can react to changing conditions quickly and decisively.

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