Not many sectors are as data-intensive and paper-rich as the insurance industry. It’s true that technology has helped streamline the development and management of documents for many businesses in the sector. However, most personnel out in the field assessing claims are still reliant on files full of forms, documents and traditional-style photographs.
Sometimes these claims are controversial and a company’s reputation – or even its finances – could be at risk if a document is mislaid in transit. Claimants are often upset and stressed, so accuracy and efficiency are essential for all concerned. Speed is critical, but there is no quick way to get a bulging paper file back to the office for immediate attention.
These days, the entire insurance industry is highly competitive. Consumers no longer stay with the same insurer throughout their lives; with the encouragement of price comparison websites they now continuously assess the market for the best deal. Only outstanding customer service will bring brand loyalty and even the smallest claim needs urgent and fast attention.
Of course, as consumers we are all used to being able to take and share photographs with mobile phones or tablets and record conversations. However, those out in the field need two-way communication; they need to be able to access enterprise applications to get the critical information needed to make decisions and gain insight into the complete the story.
The cloud, tablet computers, the increasing use of mobile apps and the release of Windows 8 have all changed the way business is handled. Now some forward-looking insurance firms using enterprise content management (ECM) solutions to explore the value of mobile apps which enable those out in the field to securely access vital information when they need it, without having to return to the office. The momentum of adoption has been driven by the release of Windows 8 which has addressed some previous issues experienced when downloading onto tablets.
When an underwriter or adjuster can be immediately notified of a new claim while on the road, they can work more productively, save wasted journeys and reduce expensive process delays.
Using mobile apps, field adjusters can quickly access claim forms along with other supporting data and documents. They can update forms, collect loss and estimate details, take photos of damage and interview claimants and record testimonials directly onto their tablets.
This enables them to have all key information to hand and complete required tasks on the spot, rather than waiting until they return to the office, safe in the knowledge that their decisions are based on comprehensive and accurate data. As this information is then immediately available to office-based personnel or other mobile users, further processes such as approvals and follow-ups can be started without delay.
All client and claim-related information is then available in one place and always totally current, there are more opportunities to detect patterns and to quickly spot fraud indicators before claims get paid.
Mobile insurance apps look set to change the industry. Insurers no longer need to worry about – or invest in – multiple devices including cameras and dictating machines. An increase in productivity means more time and person power to innovate and bring new products to market faster.
Customers will discover that claims begin to be paid within days rather than weeks – not a metric that appears on most online aggregators’ agenda, but certainly a compelling reason to stay with a preferred brand.