The Path Well Chosen

By: Catherine Reese, Chief Claims Officer at Tower Hill Insurance Group

No matter what path you choose in insurance, you’re helping people.  From Underwriting to Claims, our industry is focused on reducing risk, protecting people from economic devastation, and making them whole when a loss occurs.  As we move through 2019, we’re doing that in a world that’s rapidly evolving with new risks, changing expectations, and a shifting talent framework.

A quickly changing world means that new risks are surfacing faster than ever. 

ADAS systems reduce the risk of crashes, but can increase severity and lull drivers into false complacency.  The gig economy brings in income, but many participating don’t understand the coverage gaps renting a room, delivering food, or driving people to the airport in assets that were previously 100% personal can create.  We carry devices in our pockets that send data on where we are and what we’re doing to a dozen companies, but rarely know the end use of that data.  Pictures of our children feed into facial recognition on social media, and even DNA goes online.  New products and endorsements continue to evolve as these challenges arise, and it’s also our goal to educate our customers as their lifestyles evolve.

As our customers interact with more Amazon and Uber-like platforms, their expectations continue to shift.  Policyholders want to be able to get information on demand and follow policy acquisition and claims as closely as they do an online order.  IOT-driven usage and behavior-based products have customers taking a more active role in their products and pricing, however each customer will have unique comfort levels.  Early adopters and innovators may be comfortable buying a policy online, letting their connected home monitor their water use, tasking Alexa to report a claim for them, watching a YouTube video about the Claims process, integrating their Google calendar for an inspection appointment, and seeing updates through push notifications.  But others may not be comfortable enough with either technology or insurance to take that approach, and will need a hybrid of personal, device-supported, and automated touches.

To personalize the digital and personal experience for each customer, our industry has to keep evolving our approach to talent.  Automation is a fantastic tool to support this evolution, as it speeds up or eliminates “if-then” and widget moving processes, giving insurance professionals the ability to focus on decision making, emotional intelligence, and simplifying processes for our customers.  This shift from more tactical duties to higher-level tasks and strategic thinking is positive, but it requires adaptation from our professionals as they distill information from more sources than ever before, then determine the best way to personalize that information for the customer through dozens of potential channels.

Talent strategies will have to recruit, train, and retain skill sets that may not exist yet, all while distilling the invaluable institutional knowledge of our long-time professionals.  Customers and employees expect flexibility, and that flexibility has to be enabled by the right systems and communication strategies.  It’s an exciting time to be in insurance, because with new risk comes more opportunities than ever before to fulfill insurance’s foundation of protecting others.

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