For insurers who have already taken the step of reinventing their claims workforce with claims professionals who can solve problems, provide differentiated customer service and drive innovation and change, the next step is to take a more strategic view.
Until now, insurers have tended to concentrate on a limited and short-term approach to building efficiencies into the claims handling process by:
- Reducing headcount to lower costs.
- Investing in technology and process automation with the goal of becoming a “digital insurer.”
A more strategic and longer-term view relies on developing the claims workforce to provide exceptional customer service. Why do I think customer service is so important? In 2012, nearly one-third of insurance customers switched providers when it came time for them to renew their policies—as a result of poor customer service. And in our 2014 Claims Customer Survey, 83 percent of customers who were dissatisfied with the way their claim had been handled said they planned to switch to a new provider, or had already done so.
To improve customer service and develop a more efficient workforce, I recommend insurers consider building core capabilities and enhancing performance by focusing on structured and innovative ways of learning. An optimal learning mix might include 70 percent on-the-job learning, 20 percent informal coaching and development, and 10 percent formal learning with dedicated and facilitated learning sessions.
In our experience, new forms of on-the-job training, including on-demand bite-size learning and gamification, have had a positive effect on the performance and engagement of claims staff, as well as helped fill the current skills gap in a sustainable way.
This new claims workforce of the future will have other benefits to insurers as well. By providing better customer service and helping customers adjust to loss, we anticipate insurers will improve their Net Promoter Score, which could potentially drive a net increase in revenue of 2-5 percent. Additionally, the frameworks and assets insurers develop to enhance their claims workforce could be used by other functions across the organization.
A digitally-enabled workforce will complement the savings insurers have already made by reducing headcount and increasing automation of processes. With people and technologies working together to enhance existing claims capabilities, insurers will be able to generate a sustainable commercial value and build top-line growth.