Webinar report: the evolution of claims

The first in a four-part quarterly series examining the influence of technology on the motor claims process underlined the complexities facing insurers as they strive to evolve to meet future demands.

The inaugural Tractable webinar – powered by I Love Claims – entitled Changing gear: the new technology accelerating the claims cycle, examined the influence of customer expectations and InsurTech on the adoption of innovation, and highlighted the challenges traditional insurers face in matching the digital solutions offered by start-ups.

The session – which is set to be followed by future episodes – Testing tech: getting hands-on with solutions and evaluating what works; Creating the business case: getting buy-in for new tech; and Integration: how to make sure your new solution makes a positive impact was hosted by Andy Homer, non-executive chairman, Global Risk Partners, with guests Alex Dalyac, CEO and co-founder, Tractable; Neil Ashley, head of digital claims, Aviva UK; Chris Payne, head of EY Insurance Technology GTM Alliances and Insurtech EMEA, EY; and Robin Challand, claims director, Ageas UK. ILC’s CCO Nic Sproul introduced and supported the session, delivering a number of questions posed by audience members.

All agreed that the adoption of technology is undergoing a step-change – with influencers both internal and external to the industry.


Alex said, ‘There is a lot of venture capital going into insurance and I wonder if what is driving innovation is competition brought about the rise of InsurTech. It is a serious disruptor.’

In many ways though, new tech start-ups have an advantage on traditional insurers, for whom the adoption of new tech is much more difficult and in many instances they are having to choose between a wholesale revamp or building onto what is already there.

Neil said, ‘Many insurers invested heavily in technology platforms in the last decade and that has enabled them to exploit new technology, but it is still easier to start up as a new insurer using tech than it is to adopt tech for large insurers handling lots of claims. I’d love to just transform and not worry about today’s problems but I can’t do that.’

Fortunately, a middle ground exists with greater collaboration between suppliers. However, that does rely on transparency and integration of data – which is not always forthcoming.

Neil continued, ‘I expect all tech suppliers to work together to create an ecosystem in the future. How we orchestrate that ecosystem is another issue, but if we can do it then we’ll be able to move really quickly [in the adoption of new tech].’


Certainly, the demand is there for a new and improved proposition. Customer expectations have been elevated by services available to them in other industries, and the insurance sector will have to follow suit.

Alex said, ‘There are now 100% digital banks. I never need to go into a bank again, and those expectations will shift to motor claims; people are already starting to think about 100% digital insurers.’

Christopher agreed, but only up to a point.

He said, ‘In some ways the insurance industry is behind the banks. Yes, we’re behind in terms of customer self-serve and the retail experience, but the focus is not the same. In the banking area you’re seeing incremental change while in insurance the change is more fundamental, and some of the tech and modelling tools around risk are very advanced.’

The positive thing is that insurers now have the customer front and centre. Investment has already been made in the core platforms, enabling them now to focus on win/win solutions based on data analysis, digital pathways and quicker claims.


However, that brings its own problems. With so much evolution in terms of technology and service, insurers have to be sure where they are putting their investments.

As Robin said, ‘Where do you place your bets? Where is the value and how do you link it back to the customer? Each insurer will have a different slant.’

In many cases insurers need to decide if they are going to be a first adopter or a fast follower, but although there are many technologies still unproven which Neil said could ultimately be described as investing ‘in learning’, the growing body of data is going a long way to taking the guesswork out of investment decisions.

Christopher said, ‘The precision and payback periods are way more predictable than they were a few years ago. That is accelerating what people are investing in. But there is no point building new technology if it’s not connected to what’s already there, because that’s where the true value is.’


One area of the claims process that seems destined to become nearly completely digitalised is the use of images to remotely assess incident damage. This is standard practice in China with more than 10 million claims processed this way each year. Meanwhile, in America 70% of claims are now initiated by the customer submitting photographs.

But in the UK that figure is down at 10%.

Tractable is delivering that capability to customers of both Ageas and Aviva, and Alex believes the benefits are manifold.

He explained, ‘The motor insurance is price sensitive in the UK because of price comparison sites, which don’t exist in other markets, so insurers have to remain competitive while at the same time pushing the customer experience to earn their loyalty.

‘At the moment a typical claim can take 15-25 days. That’s a lot of hassle for the customer and a lot of expense for the insurer. But if we can speed up the process by making decisions quicker, even at FNOL, about whether the car can be repaired and what parts are needed, then you can reduce both time and cost.’

However, to reap the rewards requires an open mindset from both supplier and insurer, with integration and connectivity vital to this and many other digital developments.

‘Not all insurers are open to that,’ said Alex.


On the whole though, there is no doubt the insurance sector has proven itself capable of adapting to changing conditions – its en masse shift to home working during Covid-19 proved that. The question now is, where next?

Christopher said, ‘The big technology question is to focus in on your future vision. What you put in place now needs to meet your business needs of the future. It has to enable you to evolve quickly to what your business will be in 10 years.’

Neil agreed. He urged insurers to first decide if they are fixing today’s problem or building tomorrow’s world, and if it’s the latter he reminded them not to forget to invest in the skills they’ll need to support it.

Meanwhile, Alex encouraged the industry to look beyond its borders for a signpost of what is coming.

He said, ‘This is a time of very high disruption. Look at who is being competitive not just in terms of service but cost, and don’t hesitate to work with some of these cutting-edge players.’


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