A Risk & Insurance article recently stated that the souls of employees everywhere are saying, “Treat me like a human.” This applies to your claimants, as well. You’ve likely already considered many of the ways you can provide them better service, but you may have yet to tap into one of the keys to humanizing the claims process: automation.
The word is everywhere, as pervasive as the technology it’s infiltrating. Automation can bring to mind processes that are cold, robotic, and removed. So, considering software with automation functionalities may raise some hesitations. Will automation put distance between us and our clients? Will processes become mechanical and impersonal? How will this affect our service reputation and brand?
As the article Automation and AI: Miracle Tool or Hostile Takeover points out, automation “is neither the one answer nor a dangerous technology to be shunned. It’s another tool available to your organization, and every tool must be used effectively and for the right problem.”
Automation, when done properly, can bring more heart and soul into the work you do. Many manual processes consist of time-sucking drudgery. They leave you vulnerable to error and service headaches. They can become ingrained within your organization, forcing you to treat every claim or client the exact same way, despite variables, because deviating requires even more work. By using automation strategically, you’ll be able to deliver service to your claimants that’s more personal than ever. With a risk management information system (RMIS) that includes built-in automation, you can make humanizing the claims process a reality.
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Whether you’re an organization whose business is handling claims for others or one that administers its own claims, claimants are your customers. Viewing claimants through this lens will help focus your efforts on strengthening relationships and delivering better support. You also have the opportunity to go a step further and establish your reputation as truly customer-first. How? Through a straightforward branding exercise.
Before dismissing branding as something far removed from the claims world and better left to marketing and advertising executives, consider that every customer interaction further establishes an organization’s brand. Your reputation for customer service — however good or bad — is out there. You can continue with the status quo, or you can take control and push the narrative.
“Think about it,” says the Insurance Thought Leadership article 3.5 Ways to Deliver Happiness in Claims. “The claimant is going through your process during a time of grief, hardship and huge loss. Your process should not add to the stress. Your process should be easy. It should work to deliver a little happiness for them during this time. You want your beneficiaries to tell stories to their friends, family or other loved ones about how seamless your process was.”
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When choosing a risk management information system (RMIS) or making a RMIS switch, the process of assessing systems sometimes feels like comparing apples to apples. As important as the big functionalities are, organizations would do well to look at the more granular details—details that, however simple they may seem, address their organization’s very specific needs, while also saving time and preventing mental fatigue.
As a Risk Management Monitor article says, “An effective relationship starts with knowing the specific requirements of your enterprise and setting relevant priorities” and then checking how closely your RMIS provider can match them.
Why the little things matter
The workforce today puts in longer hours, more days a week than ever before. But employees aren’t spending all of that time tackling more projects and setting more goals, as one might expect. The 2018 survey Companies Are Overlooking a Primary Area for Growth and Efficiency: Their Managers found that 36% of company managers spend 3 to 4 hours per day on administrative tasks. An employee who spends an hour manually entering data or emailing colleagues about upcoming tasks is using time that could be better spent on more valuable activities like interacting with clients and improving product offerings.
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It’s not exactly a secret: Regardless of size or industry, every organization stands to benefit from using automation technology to cut down on repetitive, time-consuming administrative tasks. More than simply speeding up a process or getting people to work faster, automating administrative tasks yields value by freeing up employees to focus on the aspects of their job that really matter and provide value.
Automation is wonderful. Except when it isn’t.
As covered in Behind the Hype of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), businesses can run into issues by rushing to reduce costs and improve productivity through automating processes without first evaluating their effectiveness and necessity. The benefits of automating repeatable, administrative tasks can also be lost if automation technology is too difficult to use. The result? Time that could be used performing more high-value activities winds up spent managing software.
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For risk and safety professionals, the new calendar year brings with it a renewed focus on improving their organization’s culture of safety. Whether looking to put a new safety program in place, make wholesale changes to an existing program, or build upon previous successes, many organizations face the challenge of ensuring that their employees are fully participating in safety efforts.
A recent EHS Today article takes a look at a potential solution for involving people across an organization in this process: safety assessments.
How safety assessments differ from safety audits
To Build Safety Culture, You Must Get People Talking provides an overview of a 2018 Safety Leadership Conference session — “Distracted Drivers R US — Assessment RX for Success” — led by Walter Fluharty, vice president of EHS and organizational development at Ohio-based Simon Roofing.
Where static surveys may be seen as yet another safety-related requirement, focus group-based assessments followed by the completion of self-assessments are more likely to drive engagement and add value.
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One of the Claims Journal’s most popular articles of 2018 covered the Altus report that investigated the possibility of Amazon entering the claims management sector. The fact that Amazon tried to poach employees from Lemonade and recruit for a new product manager position certainly provided enough circumstantial evidence to fire up the rumor mill.
The report highlights some of the advantages Amazon brings to the table. The customer-facing infrastructure — from Alexa and Echo devices to an online juggernaut offering an expansive consumer marketplace and digital media center — is unlike anything currently in the insurance space. In addition, Amazon Home Services, which offers on-demand repairs and potential assistance with installing large replacement goods; its array of supported smart home devices; and its direct access to customer purchase history make the company poised to completely transform the claims management process.
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The risk management industry certainly had an eventful 2018. As the calendar closes out another year, we’ve picked five prominent trends that may impact your organization in the upcoming year.
1. Increasing Damage from Natural Disasters and Extreme Weather
The 2018 list of major natural disasters is notable for its scope and intensity. From Japan’s flooding and mudslides to California’s wildfires to an unprecedented global heatwave, records for severity and damage were shattered throughout the year. One article noted that, “Nationwide, 8.5 million acres, an area larger than Maryland, have burned this year to date.” Unfortunately, extreme weather and increased natural disasters are becoming more commonplace.
In the article Step up your disaster preparedness, don’t wait for the news report, we discussed how to combine audit technology with weather alerts to develop a preparedness solution that works in real-time and ensures your organization is tested and ready when the next emergency hits.
2. Telematics Emerging in Fleet Management
Consumer adoption of telematics continued at a strong pace, particularly with drivers in the youngest age range, where some studies estimate four in five drivers have telematic-based policies. While the use of telematics to enhance fleet management programs has been underway for some time, the value of this data is becoming more clear.
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Whether it’s boxes of paper forms that must be keyed into a system, pouring over spreadsheets to verify that critical requirements are met and up to date, or sending yet another email to request missing information, there’s almost always room for improvement when it comes to the management of vendor-related data and workflows.
From the submission of application forms through to the evaluation of vendor performance, businesses can add to the value of their risk management information system (RMIS) by using the system to transform their approach to vendor management. In this post, we look at four examples of how a cloud-based RMIS like Origami Risk can contribute to cost control, service excellence, and risk mitigation.
1. Streamline the vendor intake process
Simplifying the vendor application process reduces the amount of time staff spend engaged in time-consuming, repetitive activities like keying data and sending multiple emails to chase down missing details. This process can also be the first step in defining expectations and building a relationship with potential vendors. After all, as 6 essential steps for managing vendors makes clear, “A good vendor relationship starts well before you ever sign a contract with a vendor.”
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There is a great deal of buzz surrounding the rapid adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology. According to a Gartner study, by 2020 90% of large and midsize organizations will have at least one process supported by RPA. Gartner also estimates, however, that 1 in 5 of organizations that try RPA will have replaced it with another technology during that time frame. How can the same technology be both adopted and abandoned so quickly?
The answer is revealed when examining the inherent benefits and drawbacks of RPA technology. As a form of automation, it holds the potential to boost productivity that yields the equivalent of additional 24/7 workers at a fraction of the cost of human resources. Several fundamental flaws in the approach, however, may prevent organizations from ever realizing those gains, and could even make some situations worse.
How RPA works
RPA software allows non-technical users to automate tasks by creating simple “bots” that can log in to systems, retrieve information, and perform basic tasks. So long as the tasks are clearly defined, highly repeatable, and primarily rule-based, RPA bots can be trained to do that work.
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TPAs continue to face increasing pressure to find more innovative ways to drive efficiency and do more with less. An article in Lexology states, “Automated claim processing is the future for insurance carriers, third-party administrators (TPA’s) and large employers, to improve efficiency and reduce the resources required to process claims.” Determining a strategy for automating claims handling can be challenging.
A recent post examined the ways top performers approached automation. One key benchmark study of differentiators recommended: “Employ claims decision support tools – such as workflow automation, advanced analytics, and predictive modeling – and use them more frequently throughout the claim lifecycle.” In fact, top performers are 4X more likely to use automation throughout the cycle than all others.
To achieve the results similar to those of top producers, a comprehensive approach to improvements through technology must be employed. … read more