Technology and digitalisation will ‘redefine’ the insurance claims handling process, and must be better integrated if companies are to harness their benefits and avoid becoming obsolete, according to a new report by PwC.
The report urged re/insurers to focus on the opportunities of digitalisation, which will likely remove human involvement from much of the claims settling process, relying instead on automated artificial intelligence (AI).
PwC claimed that better tech integration could result in improved claims handling, removal of low value tasks, and enhanced analytics that will continuously improve products and services.
However, successful transformation will also require re/insurers to re-train staff whose roles may be threatened by technology, and to source new talent from different areas.
As the claims process becomes more streamlined through tech integration, PwC expects re/insurers to increasingly focus on helping their clients to prevent losses from happening in the first place, which will result in fewer overall claims and the development new services and products.
This shift in focus could result in companies favouring employees with both customer centric soft skills and expertise in data analysis, who can create tailored, personal offerings for customers.
Jim Bichard, UK Insurance Leader at PwC, said: “The insurance industry is alive to the fact that technology will disrupt everything they do and, in some cases, this change is already well underway. The impact will be felt differently by each firm – personal lines will react differently to commercial insurers, reinsurers and brokers – but all sectors need to take action now.
“Individual companies can’t guard against job losses resulting from automation, but this isn’t just about jobs – it’s about people. Insurers can ensure they remain competitive by investing in re-training and supporting their existing employees to ensure they’re fit for the future workplace.”
PwC’s report also suggested that future claims professionals across all levels of an organisation will be required to have a much broader range of skills, including experience outside the insurance industry, such as in customer relations, or training in data analytics.
Michael Cook, Claims Advisory Leader at PwC, commented: “It’s inevitable that adoption of technology will have an impact on claims teams – both on their size and their role in the wider insurance business. This does not mean that the days of human involvement in claims are over – there will always be a role for human expertise and judgement.
“The future role of a claims professional will largely be driven by the type of claim – simpler settlements will be dealt with through technology, freeing up time for experts to work on more complex claims. New roles will also be created including a customer concierge, new product development such as parametric driven insurance for climate change, and the provision of loss prevention services. ”
PwC advised that, going forward, senior re/insurance leaders should treat digitalisation as a major strategic decision and take steps to promote training and adaptability in their workforces, as well as recruiting new talent from other industries.