As more and more providers turn to remote technology to keep the claims process going we asked Waseem Malik, Executive Managing Director of Claims for AXA Insurance to give us his view and why he thinks greater use of tech and increased digital capability is finally here to stay in insurance.
It’s hard to find positives in a global pandemic but I’m an optimist so hear me out.
The insurance industry isn’t known for its revolutionary tendencies. We prefer to change things incrementally, safely and surely. We get there eventually, but it often takes time.
And it has been no different with the digitisation of the industry. There isn’t an organisation worth its salt that is not going through some kind of digital transformation but if I’m honest, none of us have done it at any great speed.
But this is where the positive in the pandemic comes in. Of course, insurance isn’t alone in this but by being forced to work remotely, we have all had to find new ways of doing that, from managing claims to conducting risk assessments and everything in between. And we’ve had to do it quickly.
The answer to that problem has, almost every time, been tech and I’m glad to say that we have embraced this wholeheartedly at AXA where we have been accelerating our use and deployment of this.
For example, customers can report and submit their claim, complete with damage and incident details, via their phone allowing the claim handler to get moving as soon as the data is in.
And for large losses, particularly in property, we have been able to use tech such as drones, rather than people, to safely assess the damage and get the claim moving.
Neither of these processes are new. The difference now is that rather than seeing tools like these as an option, they are the first port of call and whenever we emerge out of this pandemic, I think they will remain vitally important.
Because it’s not just the industry that has had to adapt to this – customers are also getting used to a new way of doing things. And the feedback we are getting on these tech-led approaches is extremely positive. The smart use of tech speeds the claims process up, it makes our decision making much more transparent and it makes their experience of dealing with us much easier.
They have seen what is possible and how our use of tech positively impacts their experience, so they’ll expect more of the same and we need to deliver it. But I am acutely aware that the conviction of one insurer isn’t going to give our customers the experience they or we want.
All parties need to understand the value of this tech. I can easily imagine an underwriter offering preferential terms to a broker who comes armed with detailed drone data on a risk. Why wouldn’t they? The data doesn’t lie.
And for adjusters, not only does it allow them to assess a site quickly and safely, it is cost effective too and in a sector of the market where margins are wafer thin, that has got to be a benefit they and insurers want to embrace.
It’s not just about drones – they are simply an example to illustrate my point. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has forced many of us to adopt tech more broadly and with greater speed than we would perhaps have imagined – just look at all our kids using Microsoft Teams, better than us in many cases, for their online lessons!
But for customers and the industry to get the full benefit, we all need to understand and accept the value it offers. This is an opportunity, driven by tragic events, but an opportunity nonetheless and if we don’t take it, we will have let our customers down.
Not only that. We will have let the next generation of insurance professionals down, those people who are looking to us to create the industry of the future, and we will have let them down badly. I for one don’t want to be here in five or ten years’ time saying “I told you so”. I want to be here saying “I was part of the revolution”.