Digitalisation is impacting claims, but what about the people…?
Today sees the launch of the LMA Future of Claims Forum, which coincides with the publication of the PwC report: Claims Workforce of the future: 2030. Presented by its authors at the inaugural LMA event, the report found the speed of change for insurers is arguably greatest within claims and will reshape the claims workforce. The forum and PwC’s report helps bring focus to the market in understanding how technological change presents both opportunities and challenges, not least for claims departments and the roles within them.
The report’s prediction that ‘large swathes of future claims will be settled with little or no human involvement’ makes sobering reading, along with mentions of ‘disruption’ and the ‘impact of automation’. However, automated technology is not just about huge potential efficiency savings for insurers, nor does it spell inevitable extinction for claims professionals. Many functions ripe for automation are menial and repetitive – even more so for simpler or low value claims. Put bluntly, automated technology will very soon remove the need for humans to carry out many menial claims processes, freeing them to focus instead on claim complexities, customer service /outcomes and more value-added tasks in general.
The approach and delivery of automation and straight-through processing therefore present an opportunity and chime with wider modernisation and market transformation efforts to make Lloyd’s more efficient and easier to trade with.
What is clear then, and the reason the Future of Claims forum has been established, is the need to focus on the people aspect of this change. Buy-in is required to adapt behaviours, the approach, and people’s skill sets. Claims professionals’ roles will change – and with them the operational focus of claims departments – with rapid technological development and its anticipated swift adoption. As the report states: ‘future claims professionals across all levels of an organisation will require a much broader range of skills. These include experience outside the insurance industry – possibly a background in customer service, skills in negotiating positive outcomes, data and trend analytics, supply chain and outsourced management, in addition to technical and operational claims experience.’
As largely low-level, menial work is taken on by robots, claims departments will gain a tremendous opportunity to evolve and develop more tailored, customer-centric and analytical propositions – working hand in hand with technology, not being replaced by it. Adapting to the pace of change will be a challenge, one that inevitably poses questions: how best to redeploy and re-skill staff; what skills will be needed to support the claims function of the fast-approaching future and how to develop a cross-skilled workforce to make our claims operation more flexible and fluid.
The forum intends to debate these and other questions and get the wider market engaged in them. There is also the potential for the LMA to provide for training needs arising from this through the LMA Academy. Open to all claims personnel working for a Lloyd's managing agent, the forum will assemble claims leaders and professionals of all levels on a regular basis. These events will identify how insurers can best facilitate change and how the LMACC should direct its efforts to support market adaptation to gain maximum benefit from the digitalisation of claims and minimise disruption.
Technology has thrown down the gauntlet at a time when customer expectations and service standards have never been higher. Insurance claims stands at the threshold of transformative change. For our clients, paying claims is the sole reason that insurers exist. The changes ahead will enable a swifter and more personable delivery of that promise. Often when people make claims they are in distress, in need or even in danger. Their experience comes down to technology and the abilities of the people they interact with. Claims professionals should consider their role and skills in a changing environment as part of the market-wide effort needed to support them and ensure they possess the necessary skills for the future.
Download the full report: Claims Workforce of the Future:2030