In five years’ time we can expect that huge swathes of claims, especially those triaged by AI-driven magic, will be settled ‘en masse’. There will be little, if any, human intervention.
Most personal injury claims will hit the new portal and every tick box will be filled in the blink of an eye. Self-service motor claims will be the default modus operandi. Household claims will have automated at least some of the process. Claims for contents replacements can already be managed almost entirely by IT systems. Parametric settlement systems for weather-related events will be the norm. Some of this technology and process will still be a little new. There will still be teething problems to overcome. But rest assured, in just ten years, hundreds of thousands of claims per year will settle — mainly for cash — at the merest hint of opportunity detected by the omnipresent AI every insurer will install. If they have not done so already.
This is all good news.
Except, of course, for the thousands of people who will lose their jobs. Regrettably, a necessary price to be paid for progress, as any Victorian Luddite will tell you.
We can also be sure that this switch from handler-centred claims management to machine-led automation will herald a new style of relationship between claimants and their insurer.
Or rather, the absence of a relationship.
If claims settlement for many people is as easy as taking cash from the ATM, then where is the need for any emotional connection between claimant and insurer? When were you last impressed by your bank just because they could give you your cash in a speedy and efficient manner?
Let’s be clear. Technology destroys human inter-relationships.
So, in becoming more customer centric as we use technology to fulfill legitimate desires for speed, fairness, and consistent service, we lose any sense of connectivity with our customers. A fair proportion of the policyholders who make a claim will become ever more remote and disconnected from the mothership.
This may not be a bad thing. After all, it is only the insurers or their agents that pine for an empathetic umbilical cord with policyholders. Never, in all my years in the claims sector, have I heard a claimant demand a closer relationship with their insurer. The marketing department seeks to exploit claimant weakness at a time of greatest need when, in truth, claimants only ever want a quiet life.
The outbound push for loyalty, renewal, and advocacy is a one-way street with little, if anything, by way of compensation for customers. Indeed, any claimant willing to express their gratitude for a service they have already pre-paid to enjoy would, until recent FCA intervention, be met with renewal pricing practices that are manifestly unfair.
Like claimants around the world, I welcome the drive towards a digitised, AI-led, RPA-driven future. At last, those policyholders with relatively simple and/or low-cost demands will get the ease and speed of service they have always deserved.
But in doing so, let us be clear that this transactional future will signal an end — for this group of policyholders at least — to any forlorn hopes we might still harbor of customer commitment, loyalty, and auto-renewal.
The sales departments’ job just got a little tougher.