New Insurtech Tools Will Be Put To the Test This Storm Season
By Haywood Marsh
The 2018 hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico began June 1, and as many Americans are still repairing the damage from last year’s devastating storms, hurricane preparedness and catastrophic events are squarely in focus.
Home owners in storm-prone regions are counseled to stockpile water, batteries and tarps. Business owners back up data, harden worksites and create plans to keep employees safe and informed. Meanwhile insurance carriers and third-party administrators face the challenge of showing their processes are disaster-ready. After the surprise intensity and destructiveness of 2017’s storms, this year’s season will be seen as a testing ground for data science, machine learning and innovation versus catastrophic events.
The most advanced technology can be part of the solution, beyond a doubt. But the key to realizing the full value of powerful computation is the practical foundation of accuracy and agility when a claim first comes in. When that element of the process works at its best, it is an elegant system combining an effective intake procedure, automated integrity checks and smart automation so that the right information gets collected and routed to the right place almost instantly. It establishes not only the foundation that underpins responses to individual claims but also creates the data set that fuels all further analysis.
Success, in fact, will depend on how strong companies’ intake procedures are. That means having people who are both skilled in the best practices of claims intake and equipped with the smartest digital tools to leverage their capabilities. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and other advanced computing tools have the potential to revolutionize insurance. But they are the end of a chain that involves human intake workers coupled with an effective, up-to-date rules engine to route that information efficiently. Without effective training and automated tools on the front end, no amount of sophistication on the back end will matter.
If this season, which typically peaks in September, lives up to forecasts and matches last year’s, we will see workflows and business rules strain under the load of incoming events and the demand to scale. An automated process, where an intake process is seamlessly integrated with a computerized business-rules procedure, gives both the human and computer resources involved in processing a claim the best chance of keeping ahead of an inundation of claims from flood, wind, fire and other storm-related events.
Individual insurance providers and TPAs must have agility and accuracy to achieve the complicated feat of both serving customers and staying profitable when overwhelming circumstances arise. Keeping on top of that while also staying abreast of best practices in intake and automation can be extremely burdensome for many companies. Service providers who specialize in intake and distribution can make sure that systems use the best of automation, customization and rules-based routing to allow claims intake workers to focus on customer interaction.
Haywood Marsh is General Manager of NetClaim, which offers customizable insurance claims reporting and distribution management solutions. Haywood may be contacted at [email protected].