In The Media

CEO: “You can’t automate or outsource the customer experience”

For Brian Siemsen (pictured), global CEO of Claim Central Consolidated (CCC), the benefits of conducting a claims process in a digitally-enabled manner were clear well before COVID-19 hit. Though insurers might have been generally aware of these benefits as well, the pandemic quickly made it clear that tools such as virtual inspections were now a necessity rather than a luxury, allowing CCC to flourish.

“The minute COVID-19 happened and insurance organisations began to settle on what their digital response was going to be, we experienced a huge surge in demand and use of our technologies,” Siemsen told Insurance Business.

“Even before COVID, insurers were turning to virtual inspections as a way to streamline operations, reduce costs and improve outcomes. In states like Victoria and Queensland, along with other countries including South Africa and New Zealand, we very quickly saw a huge uptake of our Virtual Inspections as a Service (VIaaS) offering among insurance carriers, brokers and other stakeholders in the market,” he added.

Read more: Coronavirus: Claim Central Consolidated expands offering amid “overwhelming” demand

Using the live video streaming and collaboration platform Livegenic, CCC’s VIaaS proposition can be used in property, motor, cyber, and business SME claims assessments. The company employs trained, remote desktop assessors who connect directly with policyholders to inspect and assess these claims, considerably reducing both expenses and the length of claim cycles.

In Siemsen’s view, the adoption of such virtual inspection tools points to the way in which “COVID-19 has simply accelerated the existing trend of insurers seeing the benefits of VIaaS for customer interactions and damage inspection.”

“I suspect that we won’t be going back to having predominantly physical site inspections, and so when we look at the willingness of policyholders and insurers to integrate virtual tools and even some of the real-time self-service opportunities that CCC offers, it becomes quite an exciting time to be at the forefront of such a trend,” Siemsen noted.

CCC isn’t resting on its laurels, however. The company is currently working on a number of digital solutions that will ideally enable certain mundane, repetitive tasks like data duplication to be minimised for brokers.

Read next: Claiming the future

“We’ve got some great partners in the broker space who are really looking not just to solve problems in the current environment, but to work out how they can use these tools that we’ve made available so that brokers and policyholders don’t have to go back to duplicating information and constantly dealing with administrative tasks,” he said.

One such tool that CCC is currently examining is virtual reality (VR), which Siemsen believes could be a gamechanger for claims processing.

“If you have the ability to capture a 3D, immersive walkthrough of a property that’s been damaged and can share this visual along the claims handling chain, it can potentially offer massive benefits for all parties involved by getting them all on the same page,” he explained.

“By bringing together the broker, loss adjuster, claim inspector, policyholder and so on, it’s much easier to agree on the best path forward for the customer. It’s clear that VR truly has the potential to improve claims outcomes.”

Though the advantages of VR are clear, Siemsen reiterated that “you can’t automate or outsource the customer experience.”

“There’s a lot of ways in which processes in insurance can be digitised and automated, and it’s something that we leverage to our clients’ advantage at CCC,” he said. “However, there has to be a significant element of human touch in the broker space, and the overarching focus needs to be on claim outcomes that best suit clients.”

Looking forward, Siemsen sees impending regulatory changes as one of the key challenges facing Australian insurers in 2021.

“It’s going to push significant levels of administration-based, regulatory-based and compliance-related activities down into supply and value chains,” he said. “Ideally, that’s going to be met with a level of innovation in regards to technology and automation, but if this doesn’t happen then we could definitely see increased costs coming.”

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