How COVID-19 Amped Up Innovation
The pandemic catalyzed insurance carriers and agencies to reset priorities and accelerate greater adoption of digital tools for claims processing.
By Jason Verlen
The use of digital as a response to COVID-19 has resulted in a series of implications playing out across the insurance industry. As businesses look to the future, insurers that recognize and quickly adapt to these shifts are best positioned to emerge stronger.
Here are three dynamics we’re seeing unfold:
No. 1: Digital makes interacting possible; AI is making our interactions meaningful.
Social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines created an increased need for tools that eliminate historically in-person tasks such as underwriting inspections, appraisals, total loss assessments, repair estimates, and more. Of course, mobile and digital channels are key factors in enabling these tasks to be completed virtually, but artificial intelligence (AI) is really what is advancing these interactions. It is the engine that, when used effectively, can help support dynamic experiences and provide hyper-customized insights and actions across insurance.
No. 2: The insurance experience is becoming more dynamic.
Insurers with large call centers are facing new challenges, including how to seamlessly up-level conversations across teams that are no longer in the same office. Similarly, supervisors need to be able to quickly and efficiently scale consumer requests based on worker bandwidth, consumer needs and more.
Dynamic chat platforms in development are being pulled into market to support immediate needs for insurers to help their virtual workforces manage consumer requests at market speed. These consumer experiences are not always so linear in this environment.
No. 3: This period will mark a tipping point for payments.
The restaurant industry offers a great example of an industry that has quickly adapted to remain in business. Consumers can now, at-scale, order ahead, pay, tip and alert the restaurant when they’re outside and ready to pick up their order, all online and without exchanging a physical credit card for a transaction.
On top of that, food delivery services, which were already growing and included payments in advance, launched contactless delivery and have been surging. Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt saw their daily app downloads surge by 218%, 160% and 124%, respectively, compared to February levels, according to Apptopia.
In looking at these examples, our industry should take note when it comes to payments as COVID-19 just might be a tipping point. Those still processing checks will continue to feel the inefficiencies and likely fall short when it comes to delivering on customer experience. When companies from Amazon to the local pizza place can support digital payments, consumers will expect it everywhere.
While we may still be in the early days of the pandemic, it’s clear that for many businesses, major shifts are already taking place. It follows that many carriers are resetting priorities to accelerate greater adoption of digital tools to support claims processing in the near and longer term. These insurance professionals are engaged in active discussions about how new virtual tools can support more dynamic collaboration.
While extremely challenging on many levels, COVID-19 has fueled the insurance-industry evolution that was already underway. As we emerge, a new baseline for business as usual will likely be established, giving an advantage to those that have embraced the technologies once deemed ripe for tomorrow, today.
Jason Verlen (firstname.lastname@example.org) is senior vice president of product management, strategy at CCC Information Services Inc.