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Managing claims inflation: innovation & predicting the future of claims

date: 25 January 2024
reading time: 8 min

It can be easy for insurers to get caught up with focusing on the latest ‘current’ ideas instead of focusing on those that could provide the best solutions. One size does not fit all, so looking at the same solution that the rest of the industry is working on might not be the best solution for an individual company’s needs.

In part 1 of this article, we explored a number of insights gained from our recent IT Insights InsurTalk interview with Manjit Rana of Clearspeed where we discussed the challenges insurance learners face when it comes to managing claims inflation.

We looked at the rising cost of claims inflation and how this affects not only the insurance industry, but in fact all areas of business. The rise of Covid-19 and the Ukraine war are but just a few world events that have driven up inflation in recent times, leaving a severe labour shortage, increased cost of fuel and parts, and issues with transportation and logistics.

Insurance leaders are facing unprecedented pressure to innovate in order to come up with solutions to these issues and to ensure that their business models are aligned with the changes that the companies they work with are implementing.

By taking the appropriate steps, insurers seek to future-proof their business insurance models to make sure that the products and services they offer will remain current and relevant to a rapidly changing landscape.

In part 2 of this article on managing claims inflation, we look at how insurance leaders might use technology to help innovate and contemplate what the future of claims might look like.

Fostering a culture of innovation using technology

Bucking the Trend

It can be easy for insurers to get caught up with focusing on the latest ‘current’ ideas instead of focusing on those that could provide the best solutions.

One size does not fit all, so looking at the same solution that the rest of the industry is working on might not be the best solution for an individual company’s needs.

In order to do this successfully, companies must forge their own paths, spurred on by the issues that their insurance customers are facing and come up with direct innovative solutions to help both the business and the consumer move forward.

Problems With Innovation

Innovation Done in Isolation

Quite often, innovation scouting is done in isolation from the main business challenges. This results in a disconnection between the real problems that insurance companies are facing and useful, innovative solutions that could help solve these issues.

In order to try to fix this, company heads, managers and team leaders must be able to understand and convey the main issues that they are experiencing, to which the innovation team can apply themselves in search of answers.

Setting priorities is essential as it creates a clear focus, which then reduces disconnection and allows the issues to be analysed and (hopefully) solved.

Innovation Should Be Treated as a Service Department

Innovation must be implemented as a service department that reaches throughout a company in its entirety – it shouldn’t simply be a standalone department tucked away in a corner office somewhere.

The innovation team must have access to the entire organisation and be able to service other departments with solutions to help solve their problems. Their supporting role plays a crucial part in the development of new ideas on how to implement and revolutionise processes and solutions, which should be a key part of all areas of an insurance business.

Harnessing Knowledge From Other Industries

Traditionally, insurance companies have not always been the best at looking outside of their own industry for solutions and taking these lessons learnt to come up with solutions on how to use technology to innovate. However, problems can’t always be solved from the ‘inside’, so delving into how other industries innovate and create new solutions is extremely important.

Insurance companies inherently work alongside all types of industries – from automotive to e-commerce, there’s a huge range of businesses out there that require insurance, so bringing in people with a wealth of experience and know-how from those industries in order to help offer creative solutions is a must.

A great solution could be to invite speakers into the insurance world to discuss the problems they are facing and listen to the steps they are taking to solve these problems. This will surely result in insurance companies gaining a better understanding of how they might innovate their products and processes for the better.

They will surely come up with ideas and solutions that the insurance company hasn’t thought of, offering true ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.

Coming at issues faced in the insurance industry from a different angle and with a fresh perspective will likely result in ideas that wouldn’t otherwise have even been considered.

One great example of this is at Clearspeed – they invited guests into their company who had lots of experience in the military technology sphere, and as such, were able to apply the lessons learnt to their own insurance products successfully.

Solving problems and fostering innovation requires starting from the right place, understanding the challenges posed and then gathering as many different viewpoints and perspectives as possible in order to come up with effective, real-world solutions.

Predicting the future of claims inflation

While it’s impossible to predict the changes that may occur to businesses and insurance in the future, one thing we can be sure of is that change will occur.

As these changes play out in other industries, insurers will need to evolve in order to ensure that their products are effective and relevant in the modern world.

A useful example of this evolution can be found in the automotive industry. Car manufacturers are moving ever closer to a subscription-type model when it comes to consumer purchase preferences, but where does that leave insurers?

Where in the past customers would purchase a car outright and then visit a price comparison site to purchase insurance, subscription purchase models are likely to not work in the same way.

Consumers are moving more towards flexibility in their purchasing habits, after all, the type of car people might need would likely change depending on whether they have a young family, teenagers, or perhaps its main use is to commute and spends most of its time at a train station during the day.

By paying for their vehicles using a subscription model, customers will enjoy the benefits of this flexibility by being able to swap their car in for the latest model much more frequently, which will drastically reduce the number of annual insurance plans required.

How can insurers stay on top of automotive manufacturers’ flexible subscription model plans? Without thinking carefully about this question now, the risk to insurance companies is that vehicle cover could be bundled into the monthly car subscription payment, which could put all of the choices when it comes to insurance plans into the manufacturers’ hands.

Insurance companies will surely not be thrilled by the idea of their products sitting underneath car manufacturers’ monthly subscription proposition as it takes the power of choice away from the consumer and puts it squarely in the hands of the manufacturers.

Being fully reliant on the decision-making of another company is certainly far from ideal, so this should be a major wake-up call for insurers to consider these changes now and innovate to find solutions while it is still possible.

A useful example of innovation that insurers could explore in this situation could be to offer customers ownership of their insurance ecosystem and provide a model that can be applied to any vehicle manufacturer. This would preserve customers’ choices when it comes to purchasing insurance and help companies maintain a balanced playing field.

A final word

Insurance companies must look at the issues the industry is facing and how to create innovative solutions for them through a different lens. Change is here, so they must adapt and overcome it through collaboration, innovation and out-of-the-box thinking in order to succeed.

Change often comes from the ‘outside’, so working with leaders of other industries is a must when it comes to approaching problems differently and imagining how the future might look and how products may change.

A great example of an area of insurance that desperately requires innovative solutions is claims mitigation. Insurers are often so busy worrying about how to best settle claims that very few resources have ever been allocated to innovation surrounding how to prevent the claims from occurring in the first place.

With some time and resources spent in this area, insurers might be able to come up with new and exciting methods of claims mitigation that could drive up profits and reduce claims across the board.

Innovation is not always about being right at the leading edge of change – insurers don’t have to be at the pinnacle of innovation when it comes to leading their industry, but they do need to be innovating in some way or another. As long as they are somewhere close to this ever-moving forefront of innovation, they will be heading in the right direction.

With half a step backwards from this bleeding edge, companies can reduce their risk and offset costs slightly while still enjoying the benefits that creative endeavours bring.

If you would like to see our full interview with Manjit Rana of Clearspeed where we discuss the issue of mitigating claims inflation, follow this link to visit our IT Insights hub.

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