Testing time for insurers

The second of a four-part webinar series examining the role and implementation of technology within the claims process focused on the value and challenges of testing before adoption.

Introduced by Tractable in association with I Love Claims, the webinar, Testing Tech: getting hands-on with solutions and evaluating what works,’ was hosted by ILC chairman Chris Ashworth, with panellists Alex Dalyac, CEO and co-founder of Tractable; Ian Thompson, CCO, Zurich; Tony Emms, insurance business advisor; and Gordon Vater, director, loss adjusting and claims consultancy, Gallagher Bassett.

Customer focus

The first question to ask is what the point of all this new technology is? Everyone in the industry appreciates that higher customer expectations must translate to a more streamlined customer journey, and that technology is the only way to achieve this.

However, it is far more complicated than that. New tech start-ups are emerging every day and not all of them will develop into a Tractable, and even among those who do succeed, only a few will be offering the sorts of solutions your business needs.

So, insurers need to think carefully before investing – focusing not on the technology they want to install but the outcomes they want it to deliver.

Very clear

Gordon said, ‘The major players need to be very clear about what they are trying to deliver and what the technology will bring to the consumer. They need to know what they want the technology to achieve.’

In many cases now that is a smoother claims journey. That wasn’t always the case. Faced with cumbersome legacy systems and strict regulations, many insurers chose to invest in front-end solutions while letting the back-end – processes such as payments, for example – buckle and bend under increasing strain.

However, in the last five to 10 years that has begun to change.

Tony said, ‘Claims is the ‘let’s do it’ end of the business and insurers are now realising that if the claims service is no good then what’s the point of anyone buying a policy?’


When it comes to claims, Tractable has established itself as one of the industry’s leading disrupters. It’s AI-powered solution is giving everyone the tools at their fingertips to become vehicle damage assessors.

This, Alex says, is helping to reduce the claims process from a European average of 20 days to almost instantaneous in the case of write offs, while even cars that need repairing can be processed much quicker with spare parts identified and ordered even before the vehicle arrives at the bodyshop.

Alex said, ‘Fixing a car usually only takes eight hours, so why are key-to-key times so long? Our vision is to reduce them to two days.’


But while Tractable is a global success story, insurers can’t afford to assume that all solutions presented to them will be as good.

Tony said, ‘You have to test all new technology. You can’t just assume it’s going to deliver the earth. And when you’re testing you need to remember that it’s in the incumbent provider’s best interests to make sure your proof of concept is unsuccessful.’

Testing is not straightforward though, with any number of criteria needing consideration. Return on investment is the headline, it makes or breaks the business argument for implementation, but there are many intangibles such as customer satisfaction that also need to be factored in.

Insurers also need to ask themselves if the solution they are considering actually solves an existing problem or whether they are testing simply for testing’s sake.

Ian said, ‘We need to ask ourselves if we have a problem that this solution matches up to, and whether we have seen this technology before. If we have, are we wasting our time testing something we’ve tested before?’


But even if the technology does address a current issue, insurers need to think longer-term. Flexibility, agility and scaleability all need to be factored in when considering the benefits of new technologies. There is no point tackling a problem now that won’t exist in the future, or with technology that will soon be superseded. This, said Ian, is one of Zurich’s key issues.

He said, ‘Scaling up is one of our biggest challenges. We often build the same thing in multiple countries when what we really want to do is build it once and then scale it up. I also struggle with these five-year behemoth developments. You can’t predict the future, so for us speed of implementation is also critical.’


However, even if the technology ticks all the above boxes, it may still not be right for everyone.

It’s often said that businesses are no more than their people, and that is true. So, for new solutions to be introduced successfully they need to do two other things: make the lives of those who will be using them simpler; and fit in with existing business operations.

Ian said, ‘Often we get excited about shiny new technology, but the user-experience side has to be part of the consideration. How is this going to work for the handler, will it make their jobs easier or more complicated, and how does it actually fit in with the day-to-day work of the business?’

Gordon agreed: ‘The people part of this is critical and is often the part that’s forgotten. They need to be convinced that the technology will support them and allow them to focus on the granular aspects of their jobs, and not replace them.’

The third and fourth webinars in the series are Creating the business case: getting buy-in for new tech; and Integration: how to make sure your new solution makes a positive impact.


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