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While technology can enable efficiencies and help expedite workflows, it is not a substitute for people in the claims process, industry sources say.
“The technology helps to a point, because in certain instances you can assess the damage without having to be there,” said Charlie Martin, Norwalk, Connecticut-based national claim practice leader and chief claim officer for Marsh L.L.C. “But if you’ve got a major loss, you’re probably still going to need to be on the ground at some point.”
Some suggest humanity is part of the equation and believe that there continues to be a role for people in the claims process, something technology may change or enhance but not eliminate entirely.
“The property/casualty world deals with some of the largest losses that an individual, company or community ever has,” said Rohit Verma, Atlanta-based global chief operating officer for claims manager Crawford & Co. “The human element of that is very important, so the role of people in the claims business is going to continue and will continue to be important. How they interact and what they do — their roles — may change.”
Others see these evolving roles yet also emphasize the importance of maintaining human interaction will clients.
“Technology has enabled us to maximize our claim resources and the talents of our colleagues. As this occurs, we are seeing new and different roles emerge,” said Jason Landrum, chief information officer for Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee. “For example, automated file set-up has alleviated the manual set-up process and enabled the claims professional to spend more time with the person experiencing the injury or loss. Business and data analysts now monitor the automated process and assignment activity. In the case of our property teams, it is becoming more common to pair field inspectors with in-house estimators.”
He emphasized, however, that “by automating parts of the process, we can spend more time focusing on customer and consumer care. We don’t envision the human touch being replaced by machines. When health and well-being are impacted or when property losses are significant, people want to know someone is working for them and that their matter is not just solely being addressed by a machine.”
“Technology is changing the game for insurance losses, but there is still a need for personal interaction, and to have ‘boots on the ground’ following catastrophe situations,” said Derek Royster, partner with RGL Forensics in Lake Mary, Florida. “In an emotionally charged situation, like the aftermath of a major catastrophe, being able to be face to face with insureds is important.”
A negative relationship with a supervisor can be detrimental to a workers compensation claim, even before an injury occurs.