With automation on the rise, Steven Steckler of Sentry Claims Group reminds insurers of their most pivotal responsibility in claims process: empathy
LAFAYETTE, La. – From AI and automation to analytics and smart sensors, technology plays an ever-increasing role in insurance. These technological innovations help expedite underwriting and claims adjusting processes, but they can never replace empathy—the most pivotal element in disaster recovery. Human connection is a vital part of helping communities recover from natural disasters, according to Steven Steckler, President of Sentry Claims Group. Insurtech advancements must be equibalanced with the human touch in the aftermath of disasters—but will an increasingly technical industry know how to keep human connection alive?
“Having a personal connection in the claims adjusting process is essential,” said Steckler. “Technology is an excellent tool for streamlining and improving the process, but it cannot be an excuse to lose that important connection with people.”
Technology has been an aid to insurance companies, making underwriting more accurate as well as mitigating risk for insurers. With the advent of Internet of Things (IoT), it is now possible for insurance companies to collect and analyze data from innumerable sources—from mobile phones to smart home devices. Telematics, for example, are used in trucking to monitor routes, driver behavior and even weather; this data can be used to more accurately assess risk. Smart sensors placed throughout a home can be used to monitor temperature and prevent pipes from freezing, preventing damage and expensive claims.1
The use of automation and AI in claims adjusting is more complicated. AI-powered chatbots allow customers to file a claim, walk through the process and receive resolution from their phone or computer in minutes without ever speaking to a live person. Automation can speed up the process of gathering necessary documents, with customers easily uploading digital documents via apps or even text message. Automation and image recognition software can even automatically scan these documents without the need for human eyes and analyze photos that customers have taken of damage.2.
These technologies have led to cost and time savings, with carriers noting faster cycle times, increased employee productivity, lower loss adjustment expense (LAE) and higher customer satisfaction.2 Even when complicated or sensitive claims must be directed to a live adjuster, AI can still assist, analyzing data and providing people with valuable insight for making accurate loss assessments.
However, more automation bears the risk of insurance carriers losing track of the human element of the claims process. While consumers are receptive to using automated claim tools, few want to use them for everything. Most prefer that a live adjuster be available to assist them when needed—this is especially the case for first-time claimants or complex claims.2 And most demand for self-service claims and insurance services comes from Millennials; older generations still prefer human assistance.
These customer preferences should be a reminder of how integral human interaction is to the claims process, according to Steckler. People provide what machines cannot: sensitivity. Instead of simply focusing on the time or cost-saving benefits of automation, insurance carriers should remember the important part they play in helping people recover from disasters, both large and small.
“Insurance carriers and claims adjusters should be focused on helping customers get back to normal not only quickly, but also with great, personalized care,” Steckler says. “Ensuring everyone gets the service and assistance they need is paramount – and more so than seeking efficiency. They will need to find ways to merge technology into their process without detracting from the human element. And that starts with empathy.”
About Sentry Claims Group
Sentry Claims Group, located Lafayette, La., is the leader in providing independent property and casualty claims adjusting services for both catastrophic events and daily claims. Founded in 2014 and led by insurance industry veterans including President Steven Steckler, SCG is built on the core values of best-in-class service, immediate action and unwavering reassurance, and is committed to helping communities and businesses rebuild their lives in the wake of natural disasters. For more information about Sentry Claims Group, visit www.scgadjusters.com.
- Cultu, Deniz and Tamay, Elixabete Larrea. “Claims in 2030: How digital can help insurers rethink their role,” PropertyCasualty360.com, August 15, 2019.
- Brower, Bill. “Future of Claims: Automation, Empathy,” Insurance Thought Leadership, April 12, 2019.